Monday, November 3, 2014

Organic, by Law


The Sikkim Agricultural, Horticultural Input and Livestock Feed Regulatory Ordinance, 2014 came into operation from 21 October onwards following its promulgation by the Governor. The Ordinance seeks to give shape to a law for further promotion and regulation of procedures to achieve Organic State recognition for Sikkim in keeping with its projected deadline of December 2015. Mission Organic Sikkim, it may be mentioned here, was essentially a voluntary undertaking of farmers here with the State Government extending support and training. With the promulgation of the new Ordinance, it has now become illegal to import, sell or use chemical fertilizers or pesticides in farming or livestock management in Sikkim without prior permission of the State authorities. The pursuit of Organic Sikkim is now a legally binding.
Principal Director-Cum-Secretary, Horticulture Department, Khorlo Bhutia, who is also Mission In-charge of Sikkim Organic Mission, when contacted to explain the urgency that necessitated the promulgation of an Ordinance on the issue instead of waiting till the Winter Session of the Assembly to pass an Act, informed that the move provides more lead time for the agency to pursue the Sikkim Organic Mission with renewed vigour and clear direction and now, also legally binding mandate.
A law to this extent was required as a final push for the final year of Sikkim’s process of becoming fully Organic, the officer highlighted.
As for the Ordinance, it puts on record that, “the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action”.
Meanwhile, what cannot be ignored is the politics that has attached itself to the Sikkim Organic Mission with the Opposition SKM and the State Government trading allegations on it for a while now. There is also the question of image since Organic Sikkim has attracted much attention at the national and international level, starting with featuring in the popular television series Satyamev Jayate and now with Prime Minister Narendra Modi singing its praises at forums as diverse as his address in Parliament to his speech in Nepal. Sikkim had announced its pursuit of Organic State status in the year 2003, undertaken it as a mission statement in 2009. Now, with so much limelight focused on it, the pressure has increased on the State and its authorities to deliver.
And hence an Ordinance banning chemical fertilizers and pesticides even though the Winter Session of the Assembly is not more than a month away. A binding process is underway to regulate the import, sale, distribution and use of inorganic agricultural and horticultural inputs and livestock feed, on record “to prevent risk to human beings or animals and environment and to make the State of Sikkim an Organic State and for matters connected organic farming”.
Now that the Ordinance has came into force, the Department has begun the process of framing the attendant rules which are expected to be notified next week.
Mr. Bhutia informs that once the rules have been notified, growers will not be able to use chemical fertilizers or such inorganic inputs for cultivation of crops.  Only organic seeds and plant materials shall be permitted, he underlines. Only Organic inputs such as farmyard manure, compost, vermi-compost, green manures, bio-fertilizers, etc will be permitted for use for soil nutrient management and bio pesticides for management of insect pests and diseases.
The Ordinance also sets more stringent guidelines and specifications. For instance, while it directs that organic seed and plant materials be used for cultivation, it also allows relaxations when certified organic seed and plant materials are not available. Chemically untreated conventional materials can be used with the permission of the State Government, the Ordinance allows. It is however strict in prohibiting the use of genetically engineered seeds, pollen, trans-gene plants or plant material is prohibited for cultivation.
Organic Sikkim is clearly not just about farming and livestock is an important constituent as well. The Ordinance takes care of this aspect as well with a ban on synthetic and chemically treated feeds. A welcome ban has been extended to livestock feed containing Atrazine, Arsenic based compounds and all forms of Animal Protein including chicken litter from use in Poultry and Cattle Farming. The following products can no longer be added to the feed given to farm animals in Sikkim: synthetic growth stimulants; synthetic appetizers; artificial colouring agents; farm animals by products; pure amino acids; and genetically engineered organisms or products thereof.
The Ordinance, on implementation, will also help in protection of habitat of the hill state as recorded in Sub-section a & b of Section 7 of the Ordinance which states that “…any inorganic Agricultural, Horticultural Inputs, Livestock Feed which is for the time being prohibited and restricted for the protection and preservation of any area defined as a Habitat; and any inorganic Agricultural, Horticultural Inputs, Livestock Feed in contravention of any other provision of this Ordinance or of any rule made there under.”
Violation of the provisions of the Ordinance and its Rules will attract imprisonment extending up to three months and/or fine of at least Rs. 25,000 [but not exceeding Rs 1,00,000]. The provision for offences and punishment in the Ordinance further state that “…if any person who has been convicted of the commission of an offence punishable under this Ordinance shall be punished for the second and every subsequent offence with a fine which may extend to twice the amount imposed on him in his previous conviction.”
Violations are however not cognizable offences and prosecution shall be instituted only by official/ officials authorised to do so by general or special order issued by the State Government. All offences under this Ordinance or rules will be triable in the Court of Judicial Magistrate.
Products for Use in Fertilizing and Soil Conditioning
Matter Produced on an Organic Farm Unit
Farmyard and poultry manure, slurry, urine Permitted
Crop residues and green manure Permitted
Straw and other mulches Permitted
Matter Produced Outside the Organic Farm Unit
Blood meal, meat meal, bone meal and feather meal without Preservatives Restricted
Compost made from any carbon based residues (Animal excrement including poultry) Restricted
Farmyard manure, slurry, urine Restricted
      (“factory” farming sources Prohibited)
Fish and fish products without preservatives Restricted
Guano Restricted
Human excrement   Prohibited
By-products from the food and textile industries of biodegradable material of microbial, plant or animal origin without any synthetic additives. Restricted
Peat without synthetic additives (prohibited for soil conditioning)   Permitted
Sawdust, wood shavings, wood provided it comes from untreated wood Permitted

Seaweed and seaweed products obtained by physical processes, extraction with water or aqueous acid and/or alkaline solution Restricted

Sewage sludge and urban composts from separated sources which are monitored for contamination Restricted

Straw Restricted
Vermicasts Restricted
Animal charcoal Restricted
Compost and spent mushroom and vermiculate substances Restricted
Compost from organic household reference Restricted
Compost from plant residues Restricted

By products from oil palm, coconut and cocoa (including empty fruit bunch, palm oil mill effluent (pome), cocoa peat and empty cocoa pods) Restricted
By products of industries processing ingredients from organic agriculture Restricted
Basic slag Restricted
Calcareous and magnesium rock Restricted
Calcified seaweed Permitted
Calcium chloride Permitted
Calcium carbonate of network origin (chalk, limestone, gypsum and phosphate chalk) Permitted
Mineral potassium with low chlorine content (e.g. sulphate of potash, kainite, sylvinite, patenkali) Restricted
Natural phosphates (e.g. Rock phosphates) Restricted
Pulverized rock Restricted
Sodium chloride Permitted
Trace elements  (baron, In, Fe, Mn, Molybdenum, Zn) Restricted
Woo dash from untreated wood Restricted
Potassium sulphate Restricted
Magnesium sulphate (Epson salt) Permitted
Gypsum (calcium sulphate) Permitted
Stillage and stillage extract Permitted
Aluminum calcium phosphate Restricted
Sulphur Restricted
Stone mill Restricted
Clay (bentonite, perlite, zeolite) Permitted
Microbiological Preparations
Bacterial preparations (biofertilizers) Permitted
Biodynamic preparations Permitted
Plant preparations and botanical extracts Permitted
Vermiculate Permitted
Peat Permitted

Products for Plant Pest and Disease Control
I. Substances from plant and animal origin
Azadirachta indica [neem preparations (neem oil)] Restricted
Preparation of rotenone from Derris elliptica Restricted
Lonchocarpus, Thephrosia spp. Restricted
Gelatin Permitted
Propolis Restricted
Plant based extracts (e.g. neem, garlic, pongamia, etc.)   Permitted
Preparation on basis of pyrethrins extracted from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium, containing possibly a synergist pyrethrum cinerafolium Restricted

Preparation from Quassia amara Restricted
Release of parasite predators of insect pests Restricted
Preparation from Ryania species Restricted
Tobacco tea Prohibited
Lecithin Restricted
Casein Permitted
Sea weeds, sea weed meal, sea weed extracts, sea salt and salty water Restricted

Extract from mushroom (Shiitake fungus)   Permitted
Extract from Chlorella   Permitted
Fermented product from Aspergillus Restricted
Natural acids (vinegar) Restricted
II. Minerals
Chloride of lime/soda Restricted
Clay (e.g. bentonite, perlite, vermiculite, zeolite) Permitted
Copper salts / inorganic salts (Bordeaux mix, copper hydroxide, copper oxychloride)used as a fungicide, maximum 8 kg per ha per year depending upon the crop and under the supervision of inspection and certification agency Restricted

Mineral powders (stone meal, silicates) Prohibited
Diatomaceous earth Restricted
Light mineral oils Restricted
Permanganate of potash Restricted
Lime sulphur (calcium polysulphide Restricted
Silicates (sodium silicate, quartz) Restricted
Sodium bicarbonate Permitted

Sulphur (as a fungicide, acaricide, repellent) Restricted
III. Microorganisms / Biocontrol agents
Viral preparations (e.g., Granulosis viruses, Nuclear polyhydrosis, viruses etc.). Permitted
Fungal preparations (e.g., Trichoderma species etc.) Permitted
Bacterial preparations  (e.g., Bacillus species etc.) Permitted
Parasites, predators and sterilized insects.” Permitted
IV. Others
Carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas Restricted
Soft soap (potassium soap) Permitted
Ethyl alcohol Prohibited
Homeopathic and Ayurvedic preparations   Permitted
Herbal and biodynamic preparations Permitted
Physical methods (e.g., chromatic traps, mechanical traps, light traps, sticky traps and pheromones) Permitted

Mulches, nets Permitted

List of Approved Feed Materials, Feed Additives and Processing Aids for Animal Nutrition
1. Feed Materials of Plant Origin
Cereals grains, their products and by - products
Oilseeds, oil fruits, their products and by – products
Legume seed, their products and by - products
Tuber roots, their products and by – products
Other seeds and fruits
Forages and roughages
Molasses as a binding agent

2. Feed Material of Mineral Origin
Seasalt, rocksalt Restricted
Sodium sulphate Restricted
Sodium carbonate Restricted
Sodium bicarbonate Restricted
Sodium chloride Restricted
Calcium carbonate Restricted
Calcium lactate Restricted
Calcium gluconate Restricted
Bone dicalcium phosphate precipitate Restricted
De fluorinated dicalcium phosphate Restricted
Anhydrousmagnesia Restricted
Magnesium sulphate Restricted
Magnesium chloride Restricted
Magnesium carbonate Restricted

3. Trace Elements
Iron Feed additives
Iodine Feed additives
Cobalt Feed additives
Manganese Feed additives
Zinc Feed additives
Molydenum Feed additives
Selenium Feed additives

4. Vitamins     Restricted

5. Enzymes Restricted

6. Micro-organisms Restricted

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