MoAF makes steady head ways in 2021

Minister for Agriculture and Forests at COP26 (Pic: Online)



The year 2021 saw the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) assisting the sourcing excess of vegetables, fruits and livestock products from the dzongkhags to Thimphu during the lockdown.

In addition, the ministry also facilitated the distribution and monitoring to ensure stock availability, including the issuance of permit for import of vegetables and fruits.

Further, the ministry also monitored to see if shops were able to adequately meet the demand and encourage the seller to adhere to the prices fixed by the government.

The year also saw Kinga Norbu, a senior forestry officer, being honored with the most prestigious β€œEsprit de Corps” gold medal in recognition of exhibiting excellence in inculcating leadership and management practices along with building friendly work atmosphere amongst the 428 officer trainees and Indian trainee officers.

In March, there was the establishment of a medium scale feed mill at Thangbi, Chhoekhor in Bumthang which was inaugurated by the agriculture secretary. The 32-MT capacity feed plant will benefit all dairy farmers and dairy groups of Bumthang. It also has the capacity to supply cattle feeds to other neighboring dzongkhags like Mongar, Trongsa and Zhemgang.

The mill is expected to encourage domestic production of raw materials such as maize and soybean for feed production apart from creating employment for the youths.

In April, the prestigious award for the rangers coordinated by International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Commission on protected Areas received over 130 nominations from 43 countries in which, Norbu Yangdon from Bhutan was being listed amongst the highly recommended rangers in this intense competition.

Norbu bagged the special recognition based on her dedicated and selfless leadership in conservation and for her personal commitment towards protecting and conserving the highly fragile and threatened biodiversity in the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary.

Bhutan also saw the discovery of two new species of snails which is Sinoennea bhucylindrica from Pemagatshel and Sinnoennea nimai in Zhemgang.

In another article, two new records of a snail and a mussel were reported from Bhutan which includes π‘ƒπ‘–π‘ π‘–π‘‘π‘–π‘’π‘šπ‘ π‘‘π‘’π‘€π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘– and π‘‡π‘–π‘π‘’π‘‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘₯𝑐𝑓 hπ‘œπ‘œπ‘˜π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘– from Jomolhari. Such discoveries indicate the good health and ecosystem of the Bhutanese forests.

During the mid of 2021, Bhutan rediscovered Rhododendron pogonophyllum after 84 long years. A team from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the Primula World and the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) rediscovered Rhododendron pogonophyllum at Kyitsugang in Wangdue at an altitude of 4452 meters above sea level.

In other developments the ministry welcomed Thinley Namgyel as the new secretary who served as the secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC).

The year also saw the completion of pet dog census in Thimphu by the Accelerated Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Program under the Department of Livestock (DoL) wherein, the door-to-door pet dog census was conducted from 29 September to 1 October 2021 in Thimphu.

After a hiatus of two years, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) took place in Glasgow, the United Kingdom from 31 October to 12 November 2021.The Bhutanese delegation to COP26 was led by Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, the Agriculture and Forests Minister.

During the high-level segment of the conference on 9 November, Lyonpo highlighted on the strong environmental stewardship by their Majesties and emphasized on the urgent need for COP to deliver ambitious, concrete and enhanced climate actions.

He also called upon countries to scale up finance for adaptation, loss and damage, technology transfer and capacity building to enable vulnerable countries to cope with climate induced challenges.

Towards the end of the year, Bhutan discovered new begonia species, begonia bhutanensis.

The species was discovered from Zhemgang by Phub Gyeltshen, a Forest Science student at College of Natural Resources, Mark Hughes, begonia expert, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Sherab Jamtsho, a ranger at Zhemgang Forest Division.

Phub Gyeltshen also added π΅π‘’π‘”π‘œπ‘›π‘–π‘Žπ‘“π‘™π‘Žπ‘£π‘–π‘“π‘™π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘Ž, π΅π‘’π‘”π‘œπ‘›π‘–π‘Ž π‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘h𝑑hπ‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘›π‘ π‘–π‘  and π΅π‘’π‘”π‘œπ‘›π‘–π‘Ž π‘”π‘’π‘šπ‘šπ‘–π‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘Ž species which are new records for Bhutan in 2021.

The discovery of such species provides the clear indication that the country is rich in biodiversity and needs further exploration to have precise numbers of wild flora in the country says MoAF.

On the other hand, the first ever quinoa processing plant was launched in Phuentsholing on December 11 to supply well-packaged quinoa to the market and to the school feeding program.