17 February, Thimphu: ‘Bhutan annually losses 29 Mt/Ha of fertile top soil to land degradation, and if not managed properly it will be a very serious threat in the future’, shared Mr. Tashi Wangdi, Department of Agriculture (DoA), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) to the members of the National Council of Bhutan during the Sensitization Workshop on Combating Land Degradation for the Parliamentarians of Bhutan. Although land is the most important natural capital, investment on sustainable land management practice has been carried out on a very small scale, and there is a need to develop an integrated national land use policy or a separate national Sustainable Land Management Policy.
Bhutan’s topography is such that every factor contributes to land degradation, in addition the current rate of urban development encroaching into the potential farm land threatens the livelihoods of every Bhutanese who directly and indirectly depends on farming.
The Director General, DoA Mr. Tenzin Dhendup shared, “It is time the government realize the significance of sustainable land management and there is a need to come to an understanding whereby every sector not just the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests should consider the implications of land degradation while implementing developmental activities”. He further urged the National Council members to take policy and investment measures that would improve the management of our land.
The total cultivated area in Bhutan is 2.93% and most of it on steep slopes. The National Soil Service Center (NSSC) under the Department of Agriculture, MoAF since its establishment has been promoting sustainable land management technologies to combat land degradation, a war that can be lost but must be won. The NSSC has now in place the National Action Plan which will be the guiding document for the country on its combat with land degradation.
Similar sensitization workshop on combating land degradation was also provided to the members of the National Assembly of Bhutan on 14 February 2014. The objective of the workshop was to sensitize the implications and threat posed by land degradation to the highest level of policy maker.
– Reported by: Tandin Dorji, ICS
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