Resilient Mountain Solutions

Key areas of work

Organic agriculture

Promote the adoption of “safe food” farming practices in the HKH and enable the growth of organic agriculture in Bhutan

Organic agriculture


Around the HKH

Boosting organic agriculture in Bhutan


There is great potential for organic agriculture in the HKH countries. However, despite the growing demand in both national and international markets for the region’s organic products, the promotion of organic agriculture faces numerous challenges in the HKH, owing to inadequate awareness and marketing mechanisms for these organic products; a paucity of technical and financial services; a dearth of quality inputs; and an overall lack of policy support.

It is therefore important to develop appropriate institutional mechanisms and innovative project and programme management structures, improve local capacities for responding to the needs of organic producers, and create an interest among all the stakeholders in order to ensure the sustainability of organic agriculture. To achieve these goals, strategies must also be developed to increase the knowledge and understanding around organic agriculture systems; they have also got to promote product marketing mechanisms in the mountain context and foster partnerships that facilitate gender-responsive organic agriculture.

Bhutan is one of the countries in the HKH that aims to go fully organic in the coming years. It has launched a flagship National Organic Programme (NOP) under the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. We work closely with the ministry, NOP, and its lead agency, the Agriculture Research and Development Centre at Yusipang (ARDC-Y), to support the government’s initiative, which aims at producing safe and nutritious foods on a sustainable basis through an environmentally clean production system. Our goal is to facilitate the uptake of adaptation and resilience-building strategies by looking for simple solutions in developing an organic and ecologically friendly climate-smart food production system.

Key aspects of our support to the organic agriculture programme:

Supporting action research on locally produced bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides (like jholmal) as well as aiding nature-based solution packages for the promotion of organic farming in Bhutan

Promoting the organic farming system, which involves building an integrated farming system in order to enhance resilient food production

Strengthening the technology centre at ARDC-Y and bolstering the linkages to RMS pilot villages; and supporting the demonstrations of organic agriculture methods (like at Yusipang)

Promoting gender-friendly technology and processes (which also means generating gender and socially disaggregated data)

Strengthening the coordination levels among the stakeholders in the RMS Bhutan initiative so as to upscale within the system; also, supporting organic farming networks like Bhutan Organic Society and Agriculture Movers

Building the technical capacity of researchers, extension staff, farmers, and private players in the area of bio inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, and feed production) through curriculum development and capacity development programmes

Farmers preparing compost during training at Nobgang village in Haa (Photo: Kamal Aryal)