Bhutan- Helping Lead the Way on Sustainability


Bhutan  plans to become the first country in the world to grow all of its crops using only organic agricultural practices.

bhutanIt plans to ban the sale of pesticides and herbicides and rely instead on its own animals and farm waste to produce fertilisers.

The small  Himalayan nation of 1.2million people, which borders India and China, plans for its food production to become 100 percent organic by 2020.

Rather than reckon on this meaning that the country will produce less food, the government expects that they will produce more and they think they will export more high quality organic produce to neighbouring countries which include India and China.

Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Pema Gyamtsho says the decision to go organic was both practical and philosophical "Ours is a mountainous terrain.When we use chemicals they don't stay where we use them, they impact the water and plants.We say that we need to consider all of the environment.Most of our farm practices are traditional farming so we are largely organic anyway.But we are Buddhists too and we believe in harmony with nature. Animals have the right to live , we like to see plants happy and insects happy."

Gyamtsho is a farmer himself and has studied in both Switzerland and New Zealand.

"Going organic will take time...we will achieve it region by region, crop by crop."

In Bhutan more than 95% of the population has clean water and electricity, and 80%bhutanof the country is forested.It is carbon neutral and it has a secure food supply. Interestingly it is also basing its economic development on the pursuit of collective happiness, a recipe long overlooked in many countries.

The biggest threat they face at present is the rapid increase in the number of cars and what that means for fuel.

As Gyamtsho says "Hopefully we can provide solutions. What is at stake is the future.We need governments who can make bold decisions now rather than later."

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  • Posted on Feb. 22, 2013. Listed in:

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