As a step towards achieving the organic goal in the country, the National Seed Centre under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests launched the certified organic seeds. The event held at Paro on 14 June was graced by Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor.
With the launch, the Ministry moves a step closer towards achieving the organic goal in the country.
To provide organic seeds to all domestic organic farms, the organic seed production started in 2019 as part of the National Organic Flagship Program. The organic seeds produced is first of its kind in the country. It is small advancement to an organic farming.
NSC along with the Agriculture Research and Development Centre (ARDCS), Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) and Dzongkhag Agriculture Sectors conducted practicability studies and proceeded with the organic seed production in Gasa, Wangduephodrang, Paro dzongkhags.
NSC’s extension workers and staff trained the farmers in organic practice packages and seed production to build technical skills and capabilities. Later the farmers registered for the seed production and they were provided with production tools.
The certified seeds are soybeans, quinoa, buckwheat, chili peppers, ginger and turmeric rhizomes. Seed production activities are further expanded with other products, depending on the production potential and customer’s demand.
Approximately 6.6 MT of organic seeds were produced and certified in the last two years. There are 215 registered seed growers from the above-mentioned dzongkhags. Around 7740 kgs of organic seeds were produced this year and supplied to organic sites including 3400 kgs of ginger rhizome, 2500 kgs of turmeric rhizome, 1600 kgs of bitter buckwheat, 145 kgs of quinoa and 95 kgs of beans.
At the movement the prodLOAS (Local Organic Assurance System) is a major organic certification system that allows organic businesses to sell produce by labeling it organic only after satisfying Voluntary Bhutan Organic standards. The organic seeds are LOAS certified and are intended for the domestic market. Eventually, as the program is intensified, the seed production will be initiated for export under the certification of BAFRA.
The occasion was also attended by the Agriculture Secretary, officials from GNHC and local government officials. The two private seed companies; Bhutan Alpine Seed and REVA seed also participated in the program.