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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Investigation of agricultural systems and ways of knowing in Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan: outcomes of research undertaken by the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (2011-15)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL https://idl-bnc-idrc.dspacedirect.org/bitstream/handle/10625/54454/IDL-54454.pdf?sequence=1
The following working paper highlights four years of quantitative, qualitative, and
Action-Based Research in Dewathang, Orong, Phuntshothang, and Pemathang gewogs of
Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan. Baseline data were collected at the household level on
farming systems and livelihoods to initially monitor the regional transition to organic
agriculture and eventually to identify ecologically friendly development opportunities.
Overall, the research attempted to document traditional agricultural knowledge,
knowledge gained through organic agriculture trainings, and the perspectives of farmers
in a total of 179 interviews.
Scientists from Navdanya conducted trainings in 2010, 2011, and 2012 in the
region on improved organic farming methods that included: soil fertility and pest
management, composting, seed storage, co-operatives, terracing, and rainwater
harvesting. This suite of technologies was intended to substitute for the inorganic
chemicals that were being actively phased out after the launch of the Samdrup Jongkhar
Initiative (SJI). It was hoped that organic agriculture would help to enhance food security
and secure lucrative markets allowing farmers to move beyond subsistence, giving the
next generation of farmers an incentive to continue farming.
Interviews in 2011, 2012, and 2013 mainly focused on documenting general
demographic data of the agricultural systems typically found in the study region as well
as monitoring the adoption rates of the taught organic practices through a lengthy
questionnaire that upon use in the field was found not to be very culturally sensitive.
Agricultural data revealed that farmers in Dewathang and Orong were generally focused
on dairy and vegetable production while rice was the main cash crop in Phuntshothang
and Pemathang. For various reasons including labour and resource shortages, the
interviewed farmers, to a large extent, had not adopted the organic agricultural trainings.

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