A typical village in Bhutan is usually covered with farm

To enhance the sustainable increase of productivity and farmer’s income while also preserving the environment, Bhutan aims to convert the whole of agricultural land to Organic agriculture by 2020. Find out in this post to know whether Bhutan has achieved 100% organic farming.

Bhutan, as per the good knowledge of everyone is an agrarian society where about 70% of the population are farmers. It is thus critical to maintain the sustainability, fertility, and the utility of the land resources while substantially increasing the farmer’s income.

Here are some of the critical steps and activities taken towards Bhutan 2020 organic agriculture.

1. Announcement in the Rio +20 conference on sustainable development

Bhutan’s PM J. Y. Thinley at the Rio+20 in 2012

In 2012 at the Rio+20 conference on Sustainable development, the then prime minister of Bhutan first announced the plan to convert Bhutan into 100% organic agriculture by 2020.

In 2014, during the global conference on organic agriculture, the then agricultural minister also announced the country’s target towards organic agriculture by 2020.

Hence the government of Bhutan as well as the people have motivated and implemented the strategies to achieve 100% organic farming n Bhutan. (make it bold)

2. Getting rid of agrochemicals

Bhutanese farmers

In 2011, government of Bhutan resolved to get rid of the import and utilization of agrochemicals.

In fact, Bhutan, by default, is the country where there is minimal utilization of agrochemicals because many farmers cannot afford to buy in huge quantity, and some being located in the extreme remote aren’t accessible to the agrochemicals in the market.

Moreover, many farmers prefer organic practices such as Farmyard Manure and Vermi-compost for withstanding pests and diseases over chemical pesticides and insecticides.

3. Establishment of National Organic Program

Launching of organic manure by Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji in 2016

The National Organic Program (NOP) was established in 2006 to promote organic agriculture in the country.

Accordingly, the National Organic Framework, the Bhutan Organic Guarantee System (BOGS), National Organic Flagship Program were also launched to provide guidelines, directives, and identification of market for the Organic products.

Through this program, many farmers are trained, advocated, and assisted in organic production both at household and commercial scale.

4. Institutionalization of organic agriculture in school curriculum

Students engaged in school agriculture program

All schools in the country started the School Agriculture Program (SAP) in the school curriculum. Through SAP, organic agriculture practices are practiced and promoted among the younger generations.

Every year, the schools are rated for the SAP and the best schools are certified and awarded. This gives the sense of responsibility and competition among the students on organic agriculture.

5. Identification and certifications of Organic Products

About 20 vegetables are identified and are classified as the domestic Organic products. The lemon grass and essential oils produced by Bio-Bhutan are internationally certified as the Organic Products with International standard.

Similarly, some farmers’ groups and cooperatives are also identified as the organic group who are designed and designated for the organic production under the supervision higher authorities and expertise.

6. Organic agriculture as a part of Gross National Happiness

Bhutan needs to maintain at least 60% of land under forest cover under the constitution

Environmental conservation which is the primary reason for organic agriculture is one of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness.

By promoting Organic Agriculture, the pollution to the environment which ultimately results in killing many insects and organisms are reduced.

Moreover, the income to the farmers is constantly improvised which results in enhancement of family and personal living standard.

Further, the organic products which are chemicals free are the immediate reasons for boosting the health and safety of the people.

Wrap up

Bhutan imports almost every vegetables from India in winter

Is it possible to achieve 100% organic farming in Bhutan in 2020?

Well, I will not hesitate to say it yes, but we need to consider few other things.

At the current scenario, about 40-50% of the total rice is imported annually. Similarly, Bhutan is also not 100% self-sufficient in vegetables. We depend on the imported vegetables and fruits at a large scale, which are not 100% organic products.

Moreover, the challenges in achieving the target lies among the farmers. Unlike the conventional agriculture practices, organic agriculture is labor intensive. Which is cheaper in market and most of Bhutanese prefer the imported ones to save money. This can impact in achieving the goal.

There is also no assured and identified markets for the organic products. Therefore, farmers prefer conventional agriculture over organic agriculture which hinders the achievement of National Organic Target.

So, it is in everyone’s responsibility, the government of Bhutan, stakeholders, farmers, and consumers like you and me to join in together to achieve the 100% organic farming in Bhutan.

Contributed by:
Ugyen Dorji
Ugyen Dorji is a Tour Manager with
RabZhe Travels Pvt. Ltd

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