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For mountain communities, engaging youth in agriculture and promoting micro, small and medium enterprises are key pillars supporting organic agriculture
Promoting mountain agriculture for sustainable mountain development has been a mainstay of our work for decades whether it was through rangeland management work in Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan, shifting cultivation work in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, and the food security work in Pakistan. We have also contributed to and been greatly encouraged by significant transitions towards organic agriculture in mountain areas such as Sikkim State in India. For mountain communities, engaging youth in agriculture and promoting micro, small and medium enterprises are key pillars supporting organic agriculture. To aggregate learning across the region on key policy environment requirements, to broaden networks among businesses, investors, and regional and international experts and to harness investment opportunities for organic agriculture business development, we co-hosted a Regional Organic Symposium in Thimphu, Bhutan.
The Royal Government of Bhutan has committed to shift completely to organic agriculture by 2035 and there is growing demand in the global organic agriculture market for products from the HKH. To support the government’s efforts and to enhance market linkages, the symposium brought together farmers, businesspeople, climate and agriculture scientists from within and outside the HKH region, policymakers, government officials, and development experts.
Participants discussed a regional certification standard for organic products, which will provide credibility and accountability to enhance the global marketability of products from the region. To further support this certification and enhance knowledge exchange, the symposium discussed the establishment of a regional knowledge hub that can provide mentoring, incubation, and acceleration support for green and resilient enterprises.
Our ongoing work to mobilise farmers and ensure their participation in the development of organic farming at a commercial scale strengthens institutions such as farmers’ groups, cooperatives, and public-private partnerships to improve access to finance and networks. We continue to focus on a supportive policy environment for aggregation, branding, investment, and market development and to promote public-private partnerships for socially responsible production and benefit sharing with local communities.
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