Brokpas learn group dynamics to better manage rangeland(25 October,2016,Kuensel)
The sound of laughter fills the community hall in Merak village. Some 40 Brokpas (highlanders) are engaged in an intense exercise to solve a task assigned to them.
Seated in groups of eight, the Brokpas are asked to rearrange the formation of a fish made up of twigs in the opposite direction. This is an exercise to test the group’s problem-solving skills.
A loud shout goes up as one team manages to complete the task.
The team building training among the highlanders is part of a five day programme on social mobilisation for natural resource management began in Merak yesterday.
The course will cover group formation, group dynamics, managing conflict, building trust and drafting a group constitution and by-laws. A total of 120 Brokpa herders will be trained over he next three weeks.
The training is part of the new sustainable rangeland management and red pandas conservation project in Merak.
A cooperative in Zhemgang turns fallow lands productive(21 October,2016,Kuensel)
If all goes according to plan, schools in Zhemgang will have ample supply of dairy products soon. This is because a cooperative in the locality, Khengrig Namsum Coopera tive (KNC) group, intends to supply dairy products to the schools in the dzongkhag.
KNC was started in 2014 by 16 youth from the dzongkhag. The cooperative, as of today, has turned 99 acres of fallow land in the dzongkhag and produces pickles,and potato and banana chips.
To keep the farmers engaged in agriculture works and to meet their vegetable demands for the factory, KNC has formed farmers groups in Kikhar, Tali and nearby areas where farmers supply vegetables to them.
At least 32 acres of land in the dzongkhag are used for growing vegetables. The farmers in the area sell their vegetables to the factory.
To sustain the business the group has also leased seven acres of land from the people of Tama and planted cardamom. The group pays Nu 650 an acre as rent to the farmers annually.
To operate the factory in winter, the group has identified 60 acres of paddy fields in Goling village to cultivate chili in winter.
KNC’s chairperson, Thinley Wangdi, said that the main aim is to make use of the paddy fields that are left unused in winter. “People here do not cultivate anything in the fields in winter,” he said. “We will make use of the fields and farmers can earn some cash.”
The first of Organic Certification(12 October,2016,www.moaf.gov.bt)
10 October, Thimphu: The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests certified “Rangshin Sonam Detshen” a farmers group of Khatoed geog, Gasa as Organic Group. His Excellency the Minister for Ministry of Agriculture and Forests Lyonpo Yeshi Dorji awarded the certificate to the group.
This group was assessed for organic certification in accordance with the Bhutan Organic Certification System (BOCS) Guidelines 2013.
The BAFRA certification team inspected and assessed a total area of approximately 25 acres of farm land owned by 50 (fifty) members, who have jointly applied for organic certification for potato and garlic.
As required under BOCS Guidelines 2013, soil and agricultural produce samples were tested for heavy metal contaminants and pesticide residue limits (MRLs) in laboratories within the country and ex-country accredited laboratories in India and Thailand. The soil samples were tested at the Soil and Plant Analytical Laboratory (SPAL), NSSC, Semtokha for heavy metal contaminants.
The potato and garlic samples were tested for pesticide residue levels (MRLs) and heavy contaminants at Export Inspection Agency (EIA) Laboratory, Kolkata.
Vegetable group enhances income for farmers(10 October,2016,Kuensel)
Yangchen C Rinzin,Orong
For the first time, some 23 households of Menchari village in Orong gewog were able to earn about Nu 37,000 from selling vegetables this year.
This would not have been possible if they had not formed a vegetable group a few months back. The Samdrupjongkhar Initiative (SJI) helped them to form the group.
Menchari is a remote village under Orong chiwog and is about a two hour walk from the gewog centre.
SJI, a civil society organisation, is a project initiated and co-founded by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. The project is designed to foster Gross National Happiness based development with the purpose of raising living standards in the south-eastern dzongkhag of Samdrupjongkhar and beyond.
All the villagers agreed to become members of the Menchari vegetable group. They auctioned potatoes and ginger this time as a trial project.
The forming of the group has not only helped these villagers to sell vegetables that they would have gone to waste, but also helped them become aware about self-sufficiency, the group’s chairman Changlupay said.