Bhutan to Become First 100% Organic Nation
Nestled deep in the Himalayan Mountains lies the tiny remote kingdom of Bhutan. The strong Tibetan-style culture and breathtaking scenery is what makes it a must-see for world travelers. It is one of the most expensive places to visit on earth with restricted and discouraged mass tourism. The deeply Buddhist land is wedged between two powerful and dominating countries (India and China) where the people have intensely tried to guard its ancient traditions. Now one of the world’s most enigmatic countries is becoming a little more desirable as they have announced their efforts to become the first nation to turn its homegrown food and farmers 100% organic.
Agriculture Minister Pema Gyamtsho told AFP,
“Bhutan has decided to go for a green economy in light of the tremendous pressure we are exerting on the planet. If you go for very intensive agriculture it would imply the use of so many chemicals, which is not in keeping with our belief in Buddhism, which calls for us to live in harmony with nature.”
The philosophy in Bhutan is “Gross National Happiness” where their development is measured by a holistic approach of well being and not national gross profit. In a place where happiness is the motto, cigarettes are illegal, and 70 percent of the country is under forest cover, it seems like an environmentalists dream. Bhutan is already mostly organic since artificial pesticides are too expensive for their farmers. Bhutan grows mostly rice, potatoes, corn, and oranges although they have recently started to import some rice.
Bhutan Focused on Quality not Quantity
Luckily for the United States, they have access to a little piece of Bhutan through its infamous red rice and although not labeled USDA organic, Lotus Foods says there are no chemicals used. Only about 3 percent of their land is used for agricultural farming and their farmers mostly use rotting leaves and organic compost as natural fertilizers.
The country is not focused on quantity but quality. With the step-by-step phase out of pesticides, buyers will be attracted to the assurance of true naturally grown products. Global sales of organic food industry have climbed to $59.1 billion in 2010, which makes now the best time to establish a reputation for high quality organic food.
Other Healthy Organic Countries around the World
The cultural trend of living well and eating organic is gaining so much momentum and Bhutan isn’t the only one setting a good example. Northern European countries have it all- dramatic landscapes, stunning architecture, and a unique culture but they also have some of the world’s healthiest countries. Iceland takes the top spot followed by Sweden and Finland, according to Forbes world’s healthiest countries list. In the “The World of Organic Agriculture”, published by the International Federation of Organic Movements, Uganda holds 296,203 hectares of pesticide free land making it the largest organic region in the world.
Bhutan has a rich, diverse, and nearly pristine ecosystem. Their recognition of the earth and environment are just a few amazing things that make the country so special. The National Assembly has even enacted a recent law that ensures that their government maintain 60 percent of its forest resources for all times to come. The strong preservation of land and culture are truly inspiring to the rest of the world.
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