Bhutan to become self sufficient in vegetables

Bhutan has set a target of growing all of its own vegetables by 2014

The announcement made by the Bhutan Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) sets out plans to decrease the country’s dependency on imports and support its farming industry.

Currently at 60% self-sufficient in vegetables, Bhutan needs to almost double its production to meet the target. This will require an additional 23,850 million tonnes of crops to be grown.

The government will not be banning imports, but instead plans to support domestic agriculture.

To help extend the growing season, 216 greenhouses will be provided in order to combat the country’s harsh winters. Irrigation and harvesting improvements will also be made, with government subsidies for water pumps, storage tanks and hose pipes. Seeds will also be subsidised to encourage farmers to plant more crops.

In 2007, Bhutan set out plans to become the world’s first country to have a completely organic agricultural system, which it aims to achieve by 2020. This goal was reiterated at the Rio+20 climate change conference in June by the Bhutanese prime minister, Jigmi Thinley.

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