Healthy Har­vest

Southasia - - Briefing -

Af­ter years of strug­gling the King­dom of Bhutan is fi­nally on its way to be­com­ing the first coun­try in the world to grow 100 per­cent or­ganic food. With much po­ten­tial, the Bud­dhist mi­nor­ity state, land­locked be­tween China and In­dia seems to have an eye for un­con­ven­tional method­olo­gies. Bhutan is in­ter­na­tion­ally known for fo­cus­ing on safe­guard­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and eval­u­at­ing its coun­try’s progress through the hap­pi­ness of its cit­i­zens. A de­vel­op­ment model called “Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness” has gained much at­ten­tion throughout the world, hav­ing been dis­cussed at the United Nations as well.

The de­ci­sion to pro­duce or­ganic food isn’t the first time Bhutan has re­solved to fol­low an un­con­ven­tional ap­proach. Tele­vi­sion was banned in the coun­try un­til 1999 and Bhutan has adamantly pro­tected its cul­tural her­itage from for­eign el­e­ments by re­fus­ing to pro­mote its tourism in­dus­try. Cau­tiously tak­ing steps to open up to the global community and form­ing its first diplo­matic re­la­tions with key global play­ers, Bhutan has seen an in­stant surge in for­eign goods and ser­vices such as fancy cars, watches and cinema halls play­ing Amer­i­can movies. The coun­try’s de­ci­sion to wel­come new ideas is ev­i­dent through its pol­icy to trim down ar­ti­fi­cial chem­i­cals in farm­ing. The plan fore­sees the coun­try pro­duc­ing sta­ple food and fruits through a 100 per­cent or­ganic process in the next 10 years. Com­ment­ing on the ini­tia­tive, Pema Gyamt­sho, Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter of Bhutan, said, “Bhutan has de­cided to opt for a green econ­omy in light of the tremen­dous pres­sure we are ex­ert­ing on the planet. If you go for very in­ten­sive agri­cul­ture it would im­ply the use of so many chem­i­cals, which is not in keep­ing with our be­lief in Bud­dhism, which calls for us to live in har­mony with na­ture.”

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