11 January 2017, Thimphu: For the first time two vegetables had been certified organic by BAFRA in accordance with the Bhutan Organic Certification System (BOCS) Guidelines 2013 viz. garlic and potatoes from Khatoed Geog in Gasa. This registered farmers’ group is the Rangshin Sonam Detshen from Khatoed Geog.
Khatoed Gewog, at an altitude of 2300-2900 metres above sea level, consists of 60 households of which 56 households are actively engaged in farming of which 51 grows organic potatoes. Desiree (Red), the popular potato variety grown by this group is sown in February and harvested about 5-6 months later. Garlic is sown in October and harvested 8-9 months later.
In these days when most food is grown conventionally to boost productivity, organic farming is a novelty and needs encouragement to grow. Hence, a buyer-seller meet was held at the FCBL Thimphu between Rangshin Sonam Detshen and ten high-end hotels of Thimphu. The meeting was mainly aimed at bringing the organic farming society one step closer to the high-end market and also to discuss the needs of the hotels, negotiate price, workout produce delivery modality and to find out the demand by these hotels for organic produce. The meeting, chaired by the Dzongdag of Gasa, observed a very strong support from the hoteliers, which included Amankora, Taj Tashi, Pedling and Druk Hotel to name a few, in taking organic farming to the next higher level.
The farmers will now grow organic garlic, organic potatoes and soon to be certified organic carrots at a pre-determined price. The group has the capacity to produce more than 92 MT potatoes and 3 MT garlic each year with scope for expansion.
In about a week a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between these organic farmers and the ten hoteliers.
The meeting was convened by DAMC and supported by the National Organic Programme and BAFRA.
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