Bhutan set to become world's first country to turn agriculture completely organic

Washington, Feb. 12 (ANI): Bhutan will become the first country to produce exclusively organic food, after banning the sale of pesticides and herbicides, relying only on animal and farm waste to fertilize crops.

The country is already largely organic, but with this change the Bhutan expects to be able to grow even more.

But this will mean that farmers of the small Himalayan kingdom of 1.2 million population will be able to grow less food, and the government will expect them to grow more, and to export increasing amounts of high quality niche foods to neighboring India, China and other countries.

According to the New York Daily News, the decision to go organic was both practical and philosophical, Bhutan's minister of agriculture and forests, Pema Gyamtsho, said in Delhi for the annual sustainable development conference last week.

He said that the country was a mountainous terrain and when chemicals are used they don't stay where the yare used, they impact the water and plants.

He added that they need to consider the entire environment. Most of their farm practices are traditional farming, so they are largely organic anyway.

Gyamtsho said that Bhutan's future depends largely on how it responds to interlinked development challenges like climate change, and food and energy security.

He said that in the west, organic food growing is widely thought to reduce the size of crops because they become more susceptible to pests, but this is being challenged in Bhutan and some regions of Asia, where smallholders are developing new techniques to grow more and are not losing soil quality.

He added that the country was experimenting with different methods of growing crops like 'sustainable root intensification' (SRI), but they were also going to increase the amount of irrigated land and use traditional varieties of crops, which do not require inputs and have pest resistance, the report added. (ANI)