Farmer’s ef­forts bear­ing fruit in Bhutan

Bhutan Times - - Editorial - By Nori­masa Ta­hara / Yomi­uri Shim­bun Cor­re­spon­dent, the Ja­pan News

THIM­PHU—Four­teen years af­ter he first brought Ja­panese tech­niques of fruit cul­ti­va­tion to Bhutan, Yuichi Tomiyasu has re­ceived a gold medal for his con­tri­bu­tions to that coun­try, the first Ja­panese person ever to re­ceive the honor.

“If you take your time and don’t rush, things al­ways man­age to work out,” said the 65-yearold Tomiyasu, who al­ways has a smile on his face. He brought such va­ri­eties as the Ho­sui pear and the Jirogaki per­sim­mon to the small Hi­malayan coun­try, known as the na­tion of hap­pi­ness.

Born in a house­hold of man­darin orange farm­ers in Ku­mamoto Pre­fec­ture, Tomiyasu un­der­took agri­cul­tural train­ing in the United States. His de­sire to test the cul­ti­va­tion tech­nol­ogy he had learned in un­fa­mil­iar lands led him to be­come a mem­ber of the Ja­pan Over­seas Co­op­er­a­tion Vol­un­teers and later the direc­tor of cul­ti­va­tion at the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency.

Tomiyasu stayed for 20 years in Nepal, where he es­tab­lished a means of grow­ing wa­ter­melon. The fruit was well known for its sweet­ness even in neigh­bor­ing In­dia.

In Bhutan, Tomiyasu vis­ited farm­ers’ houses one by one and per­sis­tently taught cul­ti­va­tion tech­niques suited for the high­lands. Ripe pears at­tracted peo­ple’s at­ten­tion when a high­rank­ing govern­ment of­fi­cial started tak­ing them as gifts on vis­its to for­eign coun­tries, and sales chan­nels for the fruit ex­panded to ho­tels and else­where.

“Farm­ers are mak­ing more money, and their lives have im­proved,” Tomiyasu said with a sense of ac­com­plish­ment.

His ef­forts are cer­tainly bear­ing fruit, but Tomiyasu has no plans to slow down. “I have to keep an eye on things for another 10 years to en­sure the fruits are of high qual­ity. I won’t stop un­til pears and per­sim­mons are de­scribed as lo­cal spe­cial­ties in text­books,” he said.

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