The cabinet recently approved the Renewable Natural Resources Research Policy of Bhutan 2012.
In the face of the ban on vegetable imports, the policy is deemed timely by experts as it responds to the emerging challenge of transforming Bhutanese agriculture from subsistence to a commercial-based economy in the 10th Five Year Plan and beyond.
Further, the policy provides guidance on the conduct and management of RNR research in the country and was formulated with inputs from various departments under the agriculture ministry, Royal University of Bhutan and others. Support was also extended by Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) – Bhutan.
So far there has not been an overall national research policy therefore the approval will also provide a framework within which to further develop and implement the RNR research policy.
The policy briefly points out two goals including a prioritized program of high quality and relevant research undertaken for Bhutan’s RNR sector. Secondly, it is to create an efficient and effective RNR research system that produces high quality research results and facilitates their use in the ministry’s plans and programs.
“It is really a forward-looking inclusive policy which will encompass seven programs,” said farming systems specialist with Center of Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) Research of Bhutan (CoRRB), Tayan Raj Gurung (PhD).
The seven programs are field crop/agriculture, horticulture, veterinary/livestock, bio-diversity, integrated natural resource management systems, forest and policy /socio-economic studies.
He further said that the policy is focused in terms of goals, is inclusive of the method of participatory research and also builds on past experience.
It supports the drive for commercial agriculture and the technology needed for it.
The director of CoRRB, Tashi Samdup (PhD) said that the whole idea of having the policy was because research is becoming important and more organizations are doing research related to the RNR field.
Further this policy would also help preventing duplication in RNR related research works.
Under agriculture ministry’s policy, anyone who is interested to carry out RNR related research has to get technical clearance for their proposal from CoRRB so the center would know the focus area of the researcher, create a database, and evaluate and add value to the research proposal. A copy of the research is expected to be submitted to CoRRB which would be useful for field action.