Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Friday, September 8, 2017

Letter from the Cabinet-Support to Bhutan's Organic Agriculture Movement.

This letter has reference to the 30th Lhengye Zhungtshog (Cabinet Meeting) held on March 25, 2014. The letter from the Cabinet to the Ministry of Agriculture & Forests (MoAF), dated 4th April, 2014 reads as follows:

The Government has directed the MoAF on the following:
1. The MoAF is to study and submit recommendations to the Lhengye Zhungtshog regarding the necessity of the development of organic agriculture by the government. The ministry is directed to use the expertise within the ministry and expertise from other relevant agencies if required to study on the impact of organic agriculture development. While studying, the MoAF is also directed to take into account the current status of organic products and alternatives for food security, fertilizers, input benefits, budget and timeline, etc.
2.  To study whether and how FDl projects negatively impact organic agriculture development.
3. The Government felt that there is a need to provide government support to the people especially in terms of marketing of organic products and also the need to develop proactive measures such as government buying the organic product and selling it. In this regard, the Government directed the MoAF to work on providing premium price for being organic and to work on the method of marketing as well as to work on how to provide government support on branding/Labeling and transportation cost for marketing the organic products.
4. The Government felt that if the country is self sufficient with the organic products and has adequate surplus for sale, the government can look into selling it to hotels, resorts and then gradually export to other countries. The government directed the MoAF to look into the possibility of locating organic market at a separate location, i.e., other side of Wangchu river, opposite to the current vegetable market
5. The MoAF to find out approximate budget, duration and benefit of going organic. 
6. To review Samdrup Jongkhar initiative and submit to the Lhengye Zhungtshog soon.
7. Bhutan Agriculture and food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) is directed to work on developing organic products certification system and be ready to provide certification services, if required.
8. To look into replacing/combining CoRRB with NOP as a cross-cutting agency.
9. Current human and other resource shortage to be addressed after the government considers the organic programme.
10. To look into harmonizing current Pesticide Act with the organic development policy, if enacted.
11. The reputation of the country will be uplifted with food security ensured by increasing domestic food production organically. The Government is of the view that any economic activity within the country can be undertaken without having to depend much on other countries. Therefore, if decided to consider the organic programme, the Government will announce to the public through media.

This is indicative of the strong political will of the government in promoting Organic Agriculture in Bhutan.