“The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan drew international attention a few years back for saying gross national happiness should trump gross domestic product when measuring a nation’s progress. If you’re going to prioritize happiness, the Bhutanese thinking goes, you’d better include the environment and spiritual and mental well-being in your calculations. (Not everyone in Bhutan is happy, and many leave as refugees, as Human Rights Watch and others have noted.)
But Bhutan, which has only 700,000 people — most of whom are farmers — has another shot at international fame if it can make good on a recent pledge to become the first country in the world to convert to a 100 percent organic agricultural system.
Last month at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley said his government is developing a National Organic Policy because the country’s farmers are increasingly convinced that “by working in harmony with nature, they can help sustain the flow of nature’s bounties.”
Going all-out organic is a lofty goal for any country given that many farmers — and poor farmers in particular — covet chemical fertilizers and pesticides to enrich their soil, boost production and keep diseases and pests at bay.
But Andre Leu, an Australian adviser to the Bhutanese government and the president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, says it’s very doable….”