11 February, Thimphu: The Hon’ble Prime Minister along with representatives from GNHC met with the staff of the National Organic Flagship Programme and other organic implementing stakeholders under the Ministry led by the Director of the Department of Agriculture.
The Program Manager updated the progress of flagship programme and tabled various related issues. Some highlights included “18MT of green beans produced and marketed, 10MT of green beans sold as seeds, 15MT of buckwheat harvested from Marthala in Samdrup Jongkhar and Drakteng in Trongsa and formalisation of organic certification protocol.
The Prime Minister asked all the programme implementing agencies to liaise closely with the private sectors, youth and enterprises for production and marketing of organic products. He also advised to explore certification need based on our market destination and aim for the best standards. The utilisation of trade attaches in the Royal Bhutan Embassies and Consulates were advised to explore creating business to business linkages to export organic products.
He also said that the programme should have plans that will have immediate impact to farmers but also need to consider the sustainability of the program. He affirmed governments support in tackling most of the issues which was discussed today.
With regards to human resources and expertise, the Prime Minister suggested that local expertise and human resources considered even if placed in other agencies and if local capacity cannot meet the requirement, then only consider seeking experts from outside.
The organic flagship programme was also advised to consider including youth education in organic agriculture as a course to employment creation based on skills training so they can take up organic based businesses. If marketing is assured production and businesses should pick up own their own and become sustainable.
The Prime Minister suggested a high end organic shop be established in Thimphu potentially tied with private sector to provide diversity of organic produce and products to consumers. He also advised to pick a few products with good export potentials for export and develop the markets in the region. The PMO assured full support of the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if required to establish trade links. Once volumes for exports build up freight charges on outbound flights could be explored to facilitate export.
Linkages with other flagship programmes such as CSI and other relevant programmes, priority sector lending, private sector engagement and facilitation with enterprise unit were recommended while also linking with local government plans and organic targets.
As a part of the meeting, the exhibition of organic products including fertilisers, turmeric, edible flowers and herbal tea produced around the country were displayed.
– National Organic Flagship Programme
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