Agriculture: The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) certified “Rangshin Sonam Detshen” a farmers group of Khatoed gewog, Gasa as an organic group, according to an agriculture ministry press release.

Agriculture minister Yeshi Dorji awarded the certificate to the group.

This group was assessed for organic certification in accordance with the Bhutan Organic Certification System (BOCS) Guidelines 2013.

The BAFRA certification team inspected and assessed a total area of approximately 25 acres of farm land owned by 50 (fifty) members, who had jointly applied for the organic certification for potatoes and garlic.

As required under the BOCS Guidelines 2013, soil and agricultural produce samples were tested for heavy metal contaminants and pesticide residue limits (MRLs) in laboratories within the country and ex-country accredited laboratories in India and Thailand. The soil samples were tested at the Soil and Plant Analytical Laboratory (SPAL), NSSC, Semtokha for heavy-metal contaminants.

The potato and garlic samples were tested for pesticide residue levels (MRLs) and heavy contaminants at Export Inspection Agency (EIA) Laboratory, Kolkata.

The soil sample was tested for pesticide residues (MRLs) at the Central Laboratory Thai, in Bangkok.  The test results received from all these laboratories are within the permissible limits prescribed in the BOCS Guidelines 2013. The water quality test could not be conducted since the potato and garlic were cultivated under natural rain-fed conditions.

The certification logo will be issued and authorised to the farmers group for utilisation in product labels, packages and advertisements. The certification logo will contain Unique Identity Number (UID) assigned to every individual member for traceability and future compliances.

This is the first case of organic certification and the certificate will be valid for one year and will be renewed if the minimum requirements are met as per the BOCS guidelines.

Staff reporter