Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Friday, January 13, 2017

Inception of A Model Organic Village


Our Team...

Langpa-Nobgang is a village constituting of 63 households at Haa. The village has found its place on the East facing slope; merrily basking under the radiance of the easterly sun. A pair of mountain on Northwest seems to be guarding the village; the further Nyabji rii studded with silhouette of trees while the Gangbana rii on the frontier remains crested with whitish cladding of snow.

My quest to explore new places sort of acted as an alarm clock. I uncoiled the blankets firmly enclosing myself and set my feet out.  I clutched a bottle of hot water in Louis Prince Stainless steel in my fingers rendered rather stout by the flabby hand gloves; pulled up my long boots augmenting the already existing pair of socks within; zipped the chain of my overcoat up until my chin; slid over the jet black cap adorned with fluffy white fur; and took a jovial stroll in the severe cold. I was greeted with so pleasant a feeling to be outside.   
          
Everything on earth was glazed with whitish encrustation of snow. The withered grey grasses appeared severely strained by pressure from above. The crystal clear river meandered with its gentle soothing tune- along its self-defined course. Fumes of smoke spiraled from chimney here and there. The majestic mountains and spurs casted their motherly overlooking glance.  
      
Our holistic team, consisting of members from the National Organic Program, Research & Development Centre for Organic Agriculture, National Soil Service Centre, the Dzongkhag agriculture & Livestock sector were greeted by a set of keen looking people.

Our consultation meeting took ground on one of the farmland. Perhaps the dwellers therein didn't build a house that could accommodate around 70 people. All of us sat around the fire place and we battled quite a hard time running away from smoke making forced entry to our eyes. While our faces and foreheads enjoyed burning sensation, we were gnawed by chillness from behind. The reverse happened when we turned our backs to fire.

Meeting with farmers around the smoky fumes.

Just before our meeting commenced, a boy seemingly in his 5th or 6th year, buried in a red hood, nested atop a nearby fence, bellowed at the top of his voice the song, 'Gawala...Kyiba dhula...Gawala...Kyiba dhula'. His song was fortified by the occasional drum beats over the steel bowl clasped firmly in one of his hands while the other gave quite a hard bang. I couldn't help myself but manifest my uncontrolled laughter within in the form of a placid grin.

The Program Director of national organic program, ma'am Kezang Tshomo explained on the objectives of our visit, made a brief statement on the health hazards associated with the consumption of chemical residue-loaded imported agricultural commodities and our sole motive of setting up of model organic village. The farmers were made to understand that the very reason why their village was chosen was based on the fact that the village already has a functional Organic Buckwheat Group, operated by a member of 27.

Our team went with an open mind. We didn't want to impose on the farmers that they take up organic farming. They were given time for discussion and give their final stance. Given the fact that the farmers are still largely organic by default, their idea of going organic did align with ours. Except for the use of suphala in potatoes, which of course is their main cash crop, the farming community remained almost sealed from the entry of other agro-chemicals. They expressed their instant willingness to forego the use if they were being provided with other alternatives like effective bio-fertilizers.

The set up of the model organic village will be financially backed up by ANSOFT ( Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Organic Farming Technology), which is a sub-activity under the broader head of AFACI ( Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperative Initiative). The small Project will be extending over a period of 3 years.

While the meeting stretched through smoke-triggered teary eyes and flimsy descend of snow flakes, I took the liberty to scan each and every faces. What did I notice or discover as a matter of fact? Only 4 or 5 out of the mass of 50 farmers had their mouth sedentary and unstained. The majority of the rest were ardently engaged in masticating betel nut; staining their mouth and teeth tinted red. I at a glance detested their behavior of being a voracious betel nut feeder.  


The narration of trivial incidences aside, the preliminary visit; consultation meeting with farmers; identification of their production constraints and potentialities or opportunities; development of cropping calendar and streamlining our interventions according to the needs and opportunities of the village has been through. I am already envisioning the Langpa Nobgang Model Organic Farm being fully operational, it being the model village for the temperate agro-ecological zone of our country.

3 comments:

  1. I am planning to maintain Rukha into an organic valley. We already discussed and they are excited (actually they are excited and listen to whatever I tell them). I need a constant flow of seeds and technical backstopping. Can you help? I can talk to your PD. Know her well.

    Nice post

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  2. Hi sir, We can do that but it will be better if we discuss with our PD, incorporate it into our plan of activities for getting budget. That will be more formal and appropriate. Between, where is Rukha located? I haven't heard of it.

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