By Shibika Suresh:
“Switching to all organic food production is the single most critical (and most doable) action we can take right now to stop our climate crisis.” — Maria Rodale
Organic farming has been significantly contributing towards providing quality food, and also prevention of soil erosion, which has nowadays become a serious concern all over the world. Recently, Bhutan, a tiny landlocked nation in the eastern end of the Himalayas, made headlines all over the world for an announcement made by the Bhutanese government which has now banned the sale of pesticides and herbicides within its boundaries. And by doing so, Bhutan has now become the first wholly organic country in the world. It is the one country in the world that has now taken a lead role on issues around the environment and sustainability, by shunning all but organic farming techniques.
This policy has been called the ‘National Organic Policy’, working under the principle that ‘living in harmony with nature’ will yield the most powerful results, and all this shall be done without sacrificing human health or the environment. There would be no GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), no pesticides, no herbicides, and no fluoride-based spray products. The Bhutanese farmers would rely on their own animals and farm waste for fertilisers. The government is confident that this will enable the farmers to produce more, and they would also be able to export their produce to India, China and other neighbouring countries.
The government now plans to study and introduce new methods of growing traditional crops in order to increase yields. Systems like Sustainable Root Intensification (SRI) have enabled the farmers to produce double the yield, without the usage of any synthetic chemicals. Pema Gyamtsho, Bhutan’s minister of agriculture and forests who was in Delhi for the Annual Sustainable Development Conference, said that the decision to go organic was simultaneously practical and philosophical. They believe in living in harmony with nature, and they plan to achieve this Herculean goal region by region and crop by crop.
By this taking this revolutionising decision, Bhutan has certainly become a poster-child of sustainable development. The government of Bhutan has made one of the biggest pro-organic moves in the world. There is a lot that can be learnt from the approach that has been initiated by this Buddhist, nature-loving, agrarian community. The idea that we need to work in tandem with nature, keeping in mind the consequence of each of our action, is an aspect of farming that the organic Bhutanese farmers remind their less environment-conscious brethren. Bhutan is small and its agriculture scale rather limited, but this has not stopped its citizens from outlining a clear path for the future of its organic agriculture.
Organic agricultural practices are a promising method that will hopefully be expanded in the near future. The benefits of buying, eating, and producing organically well outweigh the negatives. Bhutan is certainly the torch-bearer of sustainable economic development, and taken the lead for a green and healthy future which all other countries should exultantly follow.