Concept Of A Model Organic Village Initiated In Bhutan For Replication In Future
The concept developed through funds from the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) will bring Bhutan a step closer to becoming an organic nation.
By Staff Reporter | Kuensel
In an attempt to become a fully organic country, the Agriculture Ministry in Bhutan has initiated the concept of a model organic village, Yeshey Dorji, the Agriculture Minister said.
“The concept developed through funds from the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) will help in establishing the basis to replicate in other villages, which will bring the nation a step closer to becoming an organic nation,” he said.
More about the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) and its roles
The AFACI, an agricultural technology cooperative was established in 2009 by RDA, Korea to help resolve common agricultural issues in Asia. It aims to solve agricultural common issue by sharing knowledge and information on agricultural technology.
Source: National Organic Programme of Bhutan
It also strives to develop the foundation of an advanced agri-food industry and established technology transfer system to its member countries.
Today, the AFACI has 14 member-countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos PDR, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea. Bhutan and Myanmar became members in 2016.
The fifth AFACI general assembly elected Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji as the chairperson for three years in April this year. Bhutan will host the next general assembly in 2021.
Ongoing workshop conducted by the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI)
The AFACI is currently conducting a three-day workshop on transferring technology on horticulture, which began in Thimphu on 4 July.
The AFACI works to share the technology necessary for the safe production and reduction of post-harvest losses in Asia.
For post-harvests, 39 types of manuals for each member country were made, distributed and trainings given.
“As a result, the post-harvest loss of tomatoes was reduced from 24 percent to 15 percent and income increased from three percent to 20 in various crops,” a press release from the AFACI stated.
The results from the workshop are expected to strengthen support from the AFACI in the safe production of horticulture crops and post-harvest technologies which are applicable in Asia.
Benefits derived from the development of the 23 manuals for the national crops in member countries
The initiative has developed 23 manuals for national crops in member countries. Since then, it has helped Bangladesh increase its yield to 21.5 metric tonnes a hectare while Indonesia found that the price competitiveness of its chillies has increased by 2.8 times.
Moreover, the participants from the 14 member countries will also share information on post-harvest and good agriculture practice in horticulture.
While these technologies has helped Bhutan produce better and healthier crops, the country has considered cautious and appropriate steps to achieve the ambitious vision, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said.
Bhutan aims to become the first organic nation
Bhutan has been implementing nine projects through the grant from the Rural Development Administration of Korea. They range from sustainable farming technology, building information system for pest management, plant and animal genetic resources, good agriculture practices, seeds and agriculture information technology building. The ministry has also received about Nu 22 million worth of grant through these projects.
“Becoming the first organic nation is possible because we have an enabling environment and the support of our development partners,” he said.
This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.