In an attempt to become a fully organic country, the agriculture ministry has initiated the concept of organic model village, agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji said.

“The concept developed through funds from the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) will help in establishing the basis to replicate in other villages, which will bring the nation a step closer to becoming an organic nation,” he said.

AFACI is conducting a three-day workshop on transferring technology on horticulture, which began in Thimphu yesterday.

AFACI works to share technology necessary for safe production and reducing post-harvest losses in Asia.

For post-harvest, 39 types of manuals in each member country were made, distributed and trainings given. “As a result, the post-harvest loss of tomatoes was reduced from 24 percent to 15 percent and increased income from three percent to 20 in various crops,” a press release from AFACI said.

The results from the workshop are expected to strengthen support from AFACI in the safe production of horticulture crops and post-harvest technologies applicable in Asia.

The initiative has developed 23 manuals for national crops in member countries. While it helped Bangladesh increase its yield to 21.5 metric tonnes a hectare, Indonesia found the price competitiveness of chillies increase 2.8 times.

Participants from 14 member countries will share information on post-harvest and good agriculture practice in horticulture.

While these technologies helped Bhutan produce better and healthier crops, the country has considered cautious and appropriate steps to achieve the ambitious vision, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said.

“Becoming the first organic nation is possible because we have an enabling environment and the support of our development partners,” he said.

Bhutan has been implementing nine projects through the grant from Rural Development Administration, Korea. The projects range from sustainable farming technology, building information system for pest management, plant and animal genetic resources, good agriculture practices, seeds and agriculture information technology building. The ministry has received about Nu 22 million grant through these projects.

The AFACI, an agricultural technology cooperative was established in 2009 by RDA, Korea to help resolve common agricultural issues in Asia. It aims to solve agricultural common issue by sharing knowledge and information on agricultural technology. It also aims to develop the foundation of a developed agri-food industry and established technology transfer system to its member countries.

AFACI today has 14 member-countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea where Bhutan and Myanmar joined in 2016.

The fifth AFACI general assembly elected Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji as the chairperson for three years in April this year. Bhutan will host the next general assembly in 2021.

Staff Reporter