Sikkim wins Oscar for its organic policies

New Delhi, Oct 13 (UNI) Sikkim, the world’s and India’s first fully organic State, has won the UN-backed 2018 “Oscar for best policies” prize, beating 51 nominated policies from 25 countries. 

Sikkim was declared the winner in recognition of its policies that have helped the State’s more than 66,000 farmers, boosted its tourism and set an example to other Indian States and countries in the world, say the organisers of the award.

This year’s award was co-organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Future Council (WFC) and IFOAM – Organics International. 

Sikkim went fully organic in 2016, phasing out of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and achieving a total ban on sale and use of chemical pesticides in the state. All of its farmland is certified organic. 

“Sikkim’s approach reaches beyond organic production and has proven truly transformational for the state and its citizens. Embedded in its design are socioeconomic aspects such as consumption and market expansion, cultural aspects as well as health, education, rural development and sustainable tourism. 

“The Sikkim tourism sector has benefitted greatly from the state’s transition to 100 percent organic: the number of tourists increased by over 50 percent between 2014 and 2017,” said the Council.

“As such, Sikkim sets an excellent example of how other Indian states and countries worldwide can successfully upscale agroecology.”

Maria-Helena Semedo, FAO deputy director-general, said Sikkim’s experience showed that “100 percent organic is no longer a pipe dream but a reality.” 

The second prize was split three ways, with Brazil honoured for a policy of buying food for school meals from family farms; Denmark for a successful plan to get people buying more organic food, and Ecuador’s capital Quito for boosting urban gardening.

The prizes honour “exceptional policies adopted by political leaders who have decided to act, no longer accepting widespread hunger, poverty or environmental degradation,” added Semedo.