Skip to main content

Town-planning a threat to our food security?

Kuensel Article
I was going through today's edition of Kuensel (August 1, 2014). And an article by Tempa Wangdi particularly caught my attention. What a good news to begin the month, I thought. 

Some farmers in Trongsa are saying 'No' to town planning. They fear that they will have nothing at the end to hand over to their children. And that will be the end of their ancestral properties. But that's not all - I think - it poses a serious threat to our food security. How on earth can we achieve food self-sufficiency when we keep building houses and big structures in places that were once preserved for agricultural purposes?

I don't understand this thing. On one hand we insist on our policy of food security and other we build houses and turn fertile lands into towns. This is quite intriguing. In some countries, fertile lands are used for agricultural purposes and it is only here in Bhutan that we submit them to developmental activities. Thimphu Expressway is the best example of how we lose our agricultural land to the forces of modernization. That stretch was paddy field when I first visited Thimphu as a kid. But today it plays host to the highway and hundreds of buildings. 

In rush to have road connectivity our people back home in the villages sign on every document. If a road can come to their villages, nothing can matter. And as a result many paddy fields are bulldozed. Many maize fields are flattened. I don't know how many sogshings and fruit trees would yield that way. In most of the villages, compensation was not even mentioned. But people are happy anyway - all they want is road and any attempt to object to that decision to bring road is seen as a black sheep in the villages. At this rate, we can never do away with import of rice and other food items from our neighbors. Then our policymakers talk at length on how we are going through what they call INR crisis and what its implications are. Such are the voices of experts!  

But I am happy. Now our people are fast maturing. Trongsa incident exhibits that signs. Now they understand the implication of submitting everything to the forces of development. It also means that they now understand the need to preserve the fertile lands for agricultural purpose. And I am equally fascinated by some villagers in the same Dzongkhag (in a separate news report by BBS) requesting to opt out of Trongsa Throm because they have to pay urban taxes while still living fairly a rural life. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We killed our Golden Goose

One of our most significant events this year is that of Bhutan’s exporting of eggs to India. A few years ago, we were importing them – in truckloads. This goes to show that we have the potential to grow and progress as a country, provided we put in a little more effort and work harder. Did you know, Bhutan today has 422,648 hens and produces 251,678 eggs a day? 
In July 2016, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India reasoning that the laboratory tests conducted confirmed presence of pesticides. And right there was our opportunity to grow on our own. The news was like winning a lottery and it sure was a boon to many a Bhutanese chili growers, as they now had ready market san competition from cheap chilies from across the border.

Then came the ‘off season’. That is when the price of chilies unreasonably shot up as high as Nu. 300-400 per kg. It was unreasonable and daylight robbery, many people protested. And then people took to the …

Can we build energy-efficient houses?

Before we know it, it is winter again! Almost! 
And like all winters this winter will be unforgivingly cold. Of course, some people think winter cold is far less severe than the extreme summer heat the likes of which you experience in Phuentsholing or Gelephu. The reason they give is that while you can dress in cool and warm clothes in winter to beat the cold, the summer heat has almost no solution. Being naked does not help. Fair argument, I must say, but some people who can afford air conditioners in their homes might argue that the answer to the summer heat is in installing the equipment. 
But I think the answers to both the extreme summer heat and unbearable winter cold rest with the energy efficiency of the buildings we live in. 
Rooms in some of our apartments are unusually tall that in order to change a fused electric bulb requires you to literally climb onto two or three tall tables stacked onto each other. It takes three to four solid men or women to hold these tables in place; …

A Vibrant Village

What is a vibrant village? What does it take to create one? Can a village vibrancy prevent and curb rural-urban migration?
A village is vibrant when it has happy and content people. A village is vibrant where content people help each other. A vibrant village is where everyone is involved in or concerned with building a strong community. Such a village is connected with a well-maintained road that provides farmers with access to the outside world. 
A vibrant village grows its food and has no need to import anything from outside. Such a village booms with economic activities and here farmers look beyond subsistence farming. That is not to inject greed; it is rather, to encourage hard-working people to work harder. These farmers have at their service useful and modern farming tools to ease their work on the farms. In a vibrant village, farmers have the right to harvest their crops without having to share them with wild animals. 
A vibrant village has adequate and modern day facilities. Ele…
01 09 10