Feed aggregator

Brighter side of Organic farming

Kuensel Feed - 4 hours 59 minགི་ཧེ་མ།

Phub Dem | Paro

It is drizzling and a seven-acre organic farm on the outskirts of Paro is bursting with every shade of green. 

Kinley Wangmo, 49, lives on the farm where she grew up, but she’s adding a twist to the family tradition. 

She has transitioned her share of land from chemical-based practices to organic farming. 

It hasn’t been an easy switch. 

As a new organic farmer in the dzongkhag back in 2003, she tended the farm through trial and error as it was a new concept then. 

Kinley Wangmo is the first to have a certified organic farm in Paro. Her farm in Chimakha is located about three kilometres from Bonday. 

She ventured into organic farming when the formal institutionalised processes to promote organic agriculture in Bhutan began. 

She recalls a group of agriculture officials identifying her farm ideal for organic farming as there are no other lands nearby. “As the nearby farm has to share irrigation water, it is impossible if others do not practice organic farming.”

Considering the health benefits of organic produce, she took up the challenge, which many deemed laborious and difficult.

The challenges are plenty. 

The transition period to organic farming is a significant challenge and a test of perseverance. Farmers need to keep land free of chemicals for three years before being certified as organic with a drastic decrease in income. 

According to Kinley Wangmo, organic farming is laborious, exhausting, and the yield and quality of the product are often compromised at the start. 

 From picking up worms underneath asparagus plants to losing apples to pests and disease, Kinley Wangmo said that practising organic farming required patience and enthusiasm. 

Kinley Wangmo soon realised it wasn’t a matter of simply putting off chemical sprayers. She had to learn how to manage soil nutrients without fertiliser and tackle weeds and insects without herbicides and insecticides.

On a conventional farm, she says, she can spray acres of land within a day, but it takes many hands to do the same in her organic farm. 

She said that farm production reduced drastically, and it took her many years to stabilise the production. “For three years, my apple orchard was infested with pests, and there was no yield. But today, it bears the most delicious apple.”

Had it not been for her husband and eldest son, who dropped out of school, Kinley Wangmo said that her dream of organic farming would have failed. “One has to tend the farm every day.”

During those days, access to organic seeds was a significant challenge facing organic farmers. 

Kinley Wangmo took the matter into her hand without any option and made most of the seeds she required. “I have all the organic seeds which I have to sow in my field. It was difficult at the beginning.”

Kinley Wangmo’s farm was certified only in 2019.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest’s report, Sanam Drupdrey, the National Centre for Organic Agriculture (NCOA) in Yusipang certified her seven-acre family farm, including wetland and dryland. The farm was certified under the local organic assurance system, an organic certification system for the domestic market based on the Bhutan Organic Guarantee System. 

Her three organic produce—asparagus, rice and apple—are certified. 

Bhutan remained organic based on traditional farming system and remoteness, which provides a strong foundation for organic agriculture. However, the arrival of conventional farming, though it helped farmers, distorted the organic dream.

Kinley Wangmo practices mixed farming where livestock is reared as an integral part of the system for manure.


The opportunities

Although conventional farming benefits the farmers, she said it affected the soil fertility and it wasn’t healthy. 

Before the pandemic, Kinley supplied vegetables to high-end hotels.

While marketing isn’t an issue, she said that due to the pandemic, pricing was affected. “Locals do not understand what organic vegetables are, and many do not buy them as it is expensive.” 

Many tourists visited her farm during peak season and bought vegetables.

More than profit, she said that it was a healthy choice for her family. “My daughter gets sick when she eats imported vegetables.”

She has plans to certify other products such as potatoes, beans, zucchini, chillies and many more. 

Considering seasonal and inconsistent supply, Kinley said that she didn’t explore the export market. “One should have huge landholding and mechanised farming if we have to export it. It is difficult at the moment.”

“If one is not determined, organic farming is impossible,” Kinley Wangmo said. 

The dzongkhag agriculture office has been striving to make Paro an organic dzongkhag.

Agriculture officer Tandin said that the office was helping with land development, but it is difficult to reach all the areas due to a shortage of machines.

Although the dream is to make Paro 100 percent organic, he said it was challenging as Dogar and Naja gewog grow cabbage at a commercial scale. 

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Four-lane road to be completed and linked by October

Kuensel Feed - 5 hours 1 minགི་ཧེ་མ།

Before the 27 new city buses arrive

Yangyel Lhaden

If all goes as planned, North Thimphu residents would forget all the inconveniences caused by the ongoing road expansion works between Jungshina and the Bhutan Telecom office in Chubachhu.

Construction of the four-lane road that has irked commuters will be completed by October and it will link North and South Thimphu to the rapid bus transit route that the Thromde is working on. Linking the road to the two other four-lane roads, Doebum (swimming pool road) – Chubachhu and Jungshina-Taba, will not only ease the traffic flow, but will also improve public transport.

Thimphu Thromde’s chief engineer, Yeshi Wangdi, said the four lane was dedicated for city buses to improve public transport in the city. “Currently, buses are stuck in traffic jams, and with more city buses coming to Thimphu it would worsen the traffic without a dedicated lane.”

The City Bus Service has ordered 27 buses, which are expected to reach Thimphu by October end.

Yeshi Wangdi said the thromde was hoping to complete the four-lane road during the pandemic as they expected reduced traffic. The delay in import of hume pipes for drainage from India hampered the work other than disturbances caused by the traffic and underground cable lines.

Yeshi Wangdi said all major works on the Chubachhu- Jungshina are completed with the construction of footpaths and drains ongoing.

He said, after monsoon, blacktopping of the road would be carried out.

Thimphu thromde started the four-lane road construction project in May , last year with a financial aid of Nu 150 million from the Government of India (GoI).


Druk school- Changbangdu road

Meanwhile, the Thromde has started working on the 1.3 kilometre double-lane road from Druk School till Changbangdu.

The construction of the road began in 2019 to be completed in four months.

Thromde’s engineer Ngawang Tashi who was involved in the project said the thromde could complete some stretch of road formation, drain cutting, and about 70 percent work of laying cable ducts underground in 2019. Construction came to a halt after a landowner who owns two plots of land refused to pool or contribute land to the thromde.

“The land pooling issue is resolved  and we will complete construction of Changbangdu road within this fiscal year,” said Yeshi Wangdi. Other road improvements around the thromde will also be carried out once the budget is finalised by August.

Road improvement works includes improvement of the Motithang double-turning road, road above the doctor’s colony, the old highway around Babesa and IT park.

Djokovic beaten to Olympic singles bronze by Carreno Busta

bbc - 5 hours 13 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Novak Djokovic throws one racquet and smashes another as his bid for an Olympic singles medal ends in defeat by Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

Tokyo Olympics: The medal winners' flowers that pay tribute to 2011 disaster

bbc - 5 hours 22 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
More than 5,000 bouquets are being handed to athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games - and have a special significance, with flowers from areas devastated by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain finish fourth after Fiji sevens defeat

bbc - 5 hours 31 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Great Britain's women's sevens side fall just short of a medal for the second Olympics in a row as a fast, strong Fiji squeeze out a win in their bronze-medal match.

Tokyo Olympics: Novak Djokovic hurls and smashes racquet in bronze medal match defeat

bbc - 5 hours 48 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Novak Djokovic displays his frustrations during his bronze medal match against Pablo Carreno Busta, throwing a racquet and then smashing another against a net post.

Tokyo Olympics: Jonny Brownlee, Adam Peaty and Lauren Price in day eight best bits

bbc - 7 hours 17 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Watch the best moments from the early events on day eight at the Tokyo Olympics, including gold-winning relay races for Team GB and more boxing success.

Escobar pub accused of glorifying drug lord's reign of terror

bbc - 7 hours 30 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Colombians in Nottingham say they are disgusted at a new bar that shares the drug lord's surname.

Brighton Pride: Gala night kicks off scaled-back festivities

bbc - 7 hours 39 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
The launch night will feature an array of acts including cabaret, drag, live music and spoken word.

Double GB gold in new mixed events

bbc - 8 hours 17 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Great Britain kick off a golden Saturday by winning two of the new mixed relay events to take their total medal haul in Tokyo to 26.

Tokyo Olympics: GB's Emma Wilson wins a bronze medal in women's windsurfing

bbc - 8 hours 18 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Watch the final race as Great Britain's Emma Wilson claims a bronze medal on her Olympic debut in the women's windsurfing event at Tokyo 2020.

Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain's Emma Wilson wins bronze in women's windsurfing

bbc - 8 hours 21 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Great Britain's Emma Wilson celebrates a bronze medal on her Olympic debut in the women's windsurfing event at Tokyo 2020.

Tokyo Olympics: Lauren Price guaranteed at least bronze after beating Atheyna Bylon

bbc - 8 hours 22 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Great Britain's Lauren Price is guaranteed at least an Olympic bronze medal after a dominant win over Panama's Atheyna Bylon in the middleweight boxing quarter-finals.

Covid-19: Furlough 'kick in teeth' for firms and 'Covid jab scammers nearly got me'

bbc - 8 hours 31 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday.

Tokyo Olympics: 90-shot badminton rally in women's doubles semi-final

bbc - 9 hours 5 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Watch an intense 90-shot rally between the Indonesian and Korean women's doubles pairs in the badminton semi-finals at Tokyo 2020.

Pensioner Olympian Mike Bull still pole-vaulting at 74

bbc - 9 hours 31 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Mike Bull is a double Commonwealth gold medallist and Olympic finalist in the sport.

Tokyo Olympics: GB win gold in the 4x100m mixed medley relay in world record time

bbc - 11 hours 17 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Watch as Britain's Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin win mixed relay gold in a new world record time at Tokyo 2020.

Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain win 4x100m mixed medley relay gold

bbc - 11 hours 19 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Great Britain secure a fourth swimming gold at an Olympics for the first time in 113 years by winning the inaugural 4x100m mixed medley relay in a world-record time.

Tokyo Olympics: Jonny Brownlee finally claims Olympic gold in triathlon mixed relay

bbc - 12 hours 29 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
Great Britain's Jessica Learmonth, Jonny Brownlee, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee win inaugural Olympic triathlon mixed relay.

Simone Biles: Tokyo Olympics gymnast withdraws from two more events

bbc - 12 hours 54 minགི་ཧེ་མ།
American Simone Biles pulls out of the vault and uneven bars gymnastics finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.