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Bhutan aims to be first 100% organic nation

Published on Oct 3, 2012 4:27 PM
 
In this file photograph taken on March 26, 2008, a Bhutanese farmer loads mules with straw in a village of Paro, some 65kms south-west of Thimphu. The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, famed for seeking "happiness" for its citizens, is aiming to become the first nation in the world to turn its home-grown food and farmers 100-percent organic. The tiny Buddhist-majority nation wedged between China and India has an unusual and some say enviable approach to economic development centred on protecting the environment and focusing on mental well-being. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, famed for seeking "happiness" for its citizens, is aiming to become the first nation in the world to turn its home-grown food and farmers 100 per cent organic.

The tiny Buddhist-majority nation wedged between China and India has an unusual and some say enviable approach to economic development, centred on protecting the environment and focusing on mental well-being.

Its development model measuring "Gross National Happiness" instead of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been discussed at the United Nations and has been publicly backed by leaders from Britain and France, among others. It banned television until 1999, keeps out mass tourism to shield its culture from foreign influence, and most recently set up a weekly "pedestrians' day" on Tuesdays that sees cars banned from town centres.

Its determination to chart a different path can be seen in its new policy to phase out artificial chemicals in farming in the next 10 years, making its staple foods of wheat and potatoes, as well as its fruits, 100 per cent organic.

 
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