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Showing posts from May, 2016

When FIVE is more than FIVE HUNDRED

Bhutanese parents complain that our children are exposed to so much foreign content and that they might soon forget our own root. Some parents also feel that their children respond well and better to stories that have Bhutanese characters and places in them. That's why the need for more and better Bhutanese books in the market. And we have only a handful of people who are committed to making this happen although the financial return is almost none.  
Bhutan can boast of not many writers. Here writing or publishing aspect of writing is an expensive hobby. In the first place, it is difficult to convince people to publish their writings and many leave it before they are halfway. Publishing is a complicated process. But here it is even more complicated since our publishers are not publishers in the real sense of the term. They would only 'publish' (print) school textbooks and in that they are only being wise - averting risks to their businesses. 
Recently, the whole nation star…

Our Growing Opportunity

Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest had ordered the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) to 'temporarily' suspend the import of beans and cauliflowers. Laboratory tests had confirmed that these vegetables contain pesticide beyond permitted 'limit'. 
This is heartening for many Bhutanese farmers. This is truly our opportunity to grow and feed Bhutanese with vegetables grown and nurtured on Bhutanese soil. It is an opportunity to go bigger into farming and turn farming into a financially lucrative venture for our rural farmers, who still continue to grow crops for self-consumption. 
Otherwise, it is difficult for our farmers to compete with literally cheap vegetables that are imported from across the border, where they are grown in much much bigger quantity. Our farmers do not stand a chance at all to compete in the market. Thus, they end up growing only what's enough for their own families - the rest go waste, most of the time. Sam…

Panbang Boys

A group of eleven passionate Panbang boys came together in 2012 and formed the first community-based ecotourism company. They call it the River Guides of Panbang. They are river guides. They work in a group and are so good at what they do. They are highly enterprising people in Panbang known for their commitment to their mission.

One of their aims is to work for the "preservation of the rich biodiversity under the corridor of Royal Manas National Park" while creating eco-tourism in the locality. They own two rubber boats and provide tourists an unforgettable experience of floating on the mighty Manas river.

In March 2016, when I was there, the Group was busy building a line of eco-camps, away from Panbang town. The camp is built with the financial support from Bhutan Foundation on one of the members' private land. These camps are built using wood and bamboo, sourced locally. While they may appear like rows of village houses, roofed traditionally using leaves, they would …
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