A new programme B. Sc. Organic Agriculture was launched in the College of Natural Resources, Royal University of Bhutan. The Chief Guest was the Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, His Excellency Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor.
The introduction of the B.Sc. Organic Agriculture programme is another mile stone in Bhutan’s journey towards achieving 100 % Organic Agriculture. It is a comprehensive four year programme integrating Crop and Livestock production. It is designed to provide a wholesome learning experience to produce competent graduates with sound theoretical grounding, practical skills and personal development. This will be achieved through the holistic, need based and learner centered curriculum, and teaching/learning methods and approaches. Students learning experience will be enhanced by exposure to real life situations through the hands-on practicum on farms, field days and internship. The programme will also provide students the opportunity to experience and make their first foray into research in their last semester. With these attributes, it is hoped that the programme will turn out to be a high quality programme which will be known all over the world, a programme which not only attracts Bhutanese students but also international students, this programmeis seen as a breakthrough programme in internationalization efforts of Royal University of Bhutan.
His Excellency pointed out that the launching of organic agriculture programme in CNR coincided with the organic agriculture flagship project of Ministry of Agriculture and Forest in 12th five year plan and it is complementary to each other. “Organic agriculture does not simply mean growing naturally – there are many other processes involved,” His Excellency stated. Further, His Excellency emphasized that, producing organic agriculture products and consuming them, is like taking preventative ‘pills’ for NCDs, and will help reduce the cost of treatment incurred after occurrence of NCDs, which is one of the biggest challenges facing health sector in the country.
Aimed at the maximization of the GNH, Bhutan has decided to embrace organic farming in 2006 with the adoption of National Framework for Organic Farming in Bhutan. In an effort to upscale organic agriculture, it is being taken up as a flagship project in the 12th FYP by MOAF. Notwithstanding the bold and novel intentions, the wide spread implementation has been hampered by several factors such as inadequate human resources as well as lack of concurrent strategies to create an enabling environment such as research and training, pricing, certification, marketing and availability of organic inputs (seeds, manure, plant protection agents). Human resource is critical in the implementation of any sustained development initiatives and promotion of OA as a national movement will demand institutionalized and sustained human resources development.
Therefore launching of OA programme at CNR, RUB is timely and will fuel the flagship OA project of MOAF through generation of technical manpower required in the field for backstopping the farming community.
Reported by: Umang Deep Rai (AG 2nd Batch), Apsara Chhetri (AG 4th Batch).