“Analysis [of the results of the study] revealed that 90.04 per cent (389 out of 432) patients were orchard-farm workers, orchard residents and children playing in the orchards who had been exposed to the high levels of multiple types of neurotoxic and carcinogenic chemicals, sometimes for more than 10–20 years,” the study revealed. Scientists have often been critical about the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in India. “Before the Green Revolution, we were importing the bulk of grains, and now we are importing fertilisers and chemicals in enormous quantities,” says Om Rupela, a former scientist with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad.

Creating new value chains

On January 18th of this year, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, himself officially announced Sikkim becoming 100 per cent organic while inaugurating the Sikkim Organic Festival in the state capital, Gangtok. “If the experiment succeeds, farmers in other places will follow it on their own.