India announces its first organic state

December 13, 2003, of India: Mizoram Governor A. R. Kohli announced Saturday that Mizoram will become India’s first organic state. "I have asked the government to introduce a legislation in the forthcoming Assembly session to ban fertilizers and pesticides and encourage organic food," Kohli told industry leaders on Saturday at a CII sponsored human resources conclave aimed at employment generation for youth from North East region.

“We will be the first state to go for organic food production. Once we do, other states in the region will follow," Kohli said.

Kohli stated in his speech that he believed it was the emphasis of government to encourage self-employment among youth and bringing prosperity to the region and he saw organic agriculture as his region’s answer to this mission.

"Our focus is on organic food, plantation, tourism industry, entertainment and sports activities, besides allied business like food processing for the entire region," Kohli said, inviting business leaders to partner with local entrepreneurs and transfer technology and skills to build joint businesses.

Mizoram is not the only region to question the merits of conventional agriculture. Vikram Bokey, namesake of the V B Foundation an organic advocate, feels that theories which have propagated the use of fertilizers and pesticides need to be investigated afresh. "The results for the first few years can no doubt be impressive.

But what happens down the years when the soil is unable to take the load anymore?" questions Bokey, pointing to the fact that the high cost of chemical-based farming has begun to kill farmers with the pressures of debt. "Our studies have shown that the chemical cost per acre for sugarcane is Rs 17,000 in order to yield 35 tons of produce while an organic farm costs Rs 2200 per acre for an output of 60 tons," he states.

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