Bhutan has offered to convert all its agricultural production entirely to organic, putting enormous implications for agricultural practices around the globe.
Bhutanese representative speaking at Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) Annual Policy Conference in Washington on Wednesday (21 May) said converting to organic agriculture is critical for Bhutan’s future.
“Why organic is important for Bhutan is more about survival, sustainability,” said Bhutan’s National Organic Programme Coordinator Kesang Tshomo. “Bhutan was carved out of the mountains…organic will help ensure that people survive in the mountains and that we preserve our bio-diversity.”
Bhutan made headlines in 2012 when it announced to become the first nation in the world to convert to 100 percent organic farming. While only around 3 percent of Bhutan’s territory is actual farmland, an estimated 80 percent Bhutanese makes their living on agriculture, as mostly small subsistence farmers.
Bhutan’s decision to transition to 100 percent organic was both practical and philosophical. Because the terrain is mostly mountainous, the use of chemicals has a strong impact on the country’s water and environment. The nation is one of the most bio-diverse areas on earth, and it has long held conservation and good stewardship of the environment as a national priority.