Bhutan Adopts Organic Farming Nationwide

Agriculture in the kingdom becomes fully organic as government leaders push for the cultivation of healthy homegrown food and standardized farming practices.

Bhutan, home of “Gross National Happiness,” has taken another progressive step by announcing its decision to make its agricultural practices fully organic.

While this may be seen as an ambitious move outside the kingdom, policymakers in Bhutan maintain that this will be a relatively easy goal to accomplish. These officials point to the fact that Bhutan’s indigenous farming practices have long relied on traditional methods that have nothing to do with modern chemicals and soil “enhancements”. They suggest that those traditional Bhutanese cultivation practices are already, by default, organic.

A Bhutanese farmer smiles at the camera as she works her fields with her grand-daughter 

Chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides have so far only been used on 1.5% of the total agricultural area, they say.

With a population comprised mostly of farmers (estimated at two-thirds of all Bhutanese people), the decision was first announced by the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigmi Y. Thinley, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in 2012. More recently, the current Bhutanese Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay, has made similar pronouncements and spoken of his commitment to fulfill that goal of ensuring that all farming in Bhutan becomes wholly organic. 

Today, the Royal Government of Bhutan is working with farmers all across the country to make organic farming the mandatory standard rather than the exception “to improve self-sufficiency of farmers, improve the nation’s economic standing and to preserve the nation’s freshwater supply.” 

A press release from Bhutan states that “a complete shift to organic farming will make a massive impact on [Bhutan] and likely on surrounding countries.”

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