Bhutan ob­serves the world food day

Bhutan Times - - Home - Biku Gu­rung

This year, Bhutan joins the world in ob­serv­ing the World Food Day with the theme, “Break­ing the cy­cle of ru­ral poverty” last Fri­day. And while Bhutan has halved poverty from 23.4 per cent in 2007 to 12.04 per cent in 2012, the day brings with it a re­minder of the way for­ward.

As a UN mem­ber state, Bhutan has agreed upon the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs) of which Goal 2 looks to, “End hunger, achieve food se­cu­rity and im­proved nu­tri­tion and pro­mote sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture.”

As high­lighted by the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon in his mes­sage for the day, “De­liv­er­ing on the prom­ise of the 2030 Agenda will not be pos­si­ble with­out rapid progress to­wards end­ing hunger and un­der nu­tri­tion.”

Nonethe­less, the UN in Bhutan, through the World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) and the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion (FAO) have al­ready, em­barked to as­sist the coun­try to achieve zero hunger.

Ear­lier this month, His Majesty the King graced a field trip to the Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre (RDC) in Yusi­pang to learn about Quinoa pro­gramme (Chenopodium quinoa Wild), through which a new crop has been in­tro­duced in the coun­try for the first time.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with FAO, the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture has in­tro­duced two va­ri­eties of crops which orig­i­nates from Peru. Ten more high yield­ing va­ri­eties, that best suits Bhutanese con­di­tions, will also be tested.

Chadho Ten­zin, the As­sis­tant Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive FAO Bhutan said, “The crop is drought-tol­er­ant and can be cul­ti­vated in soil with­out much wa­ter and has high nu­tri­tional value well suited for Bhutan.”

Start­ing this Novem­ber, a Quinoa pro­duc­tion trial will be con­ducted at mid and low al­ti­tudes and by next sum­mer, the crop will also be tried in high al­ti­tude ar­eas. There are also plans to dis­trib­ute the seeds to farm­ers to cul­ti­vate and get ac­quainted with the crop va­ri­eties.

“So­cial pro­tec­tion pro­grams on their own will not be enough to move peo­ple out of poverty. That’s why so­cial pro­tec­tion pro­grams should be linked to pro­duc­tiv­i­tyen­hanc­ing mea­sures that can sus­tain­ably im­prove farm in­comes and nu­tri­tion”, said Dr. Kund­havi Kadire­san, the As­sis­tant Di­rec­tor gen­eral and Re­gional Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of FAO

Through its train­ing of teach­ers at the Col­lege of Nat­u­ral Resources (CNR) for agri­cul­ture and nu­tri­tion cou­pled with the School Agri­cul­ture Pro­gramme (SAP), WFP Bhutan has al­ready made sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments to break the in­ter-gen­er­a­tional cy­cle of mal­nu­tri­tion.

Hav­ing started with in just six schools, to­day, there are 250 SAP mem­ber schools, close to half of 554 schools in the coun­try. Ad­di­tional 100 schools are ex­pected to join the SAP in the cur­rent, 11th Five Year Plan with in­te­grated agri­cul­ture ac­tiv­i­ties such as veg­etable and mush­room gar­den­ing, poul­try for egg pro­duc­tion and pig­gery for meat.

In her mes­sage for World Food Day, Ertharin Cousin, the Ex­ec­u­tive Di- rector of WFP pointed out that this is, “An im­por­tant day for all agen­cies and part­ners work­ing to achieve Zero Hunger.”

“We want to ed­u­cate ev­ery child on agri­cul­ture and nu­tri­tion so that they are able to grow into healthy adults who will have healthy and well-nour­ished chil­dren to break the in­ter-gen­er­a­tional cy­cle of hunger and poverty”, said Piet Vochten, the head of WFP in Bhutan get­ting at the heart of the mes­sage of this year’s World Food Day.

Cur­rently, one-third of the SAP schools are be­ing ac­tively sup­ported by WFP, out of more than 200 schools that re­ceive food as­sis­tance. WFP has also trained 40 school teach­ers on the SAP and has sup­ported the de­vel­op­ment of a new cur­ricu­lum called Agri Food se­cu­rity (AgFs) in 40 schools across Bhutan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.