Organic seeds are essential for the resilience and sustainability of our food systems. Even in Bhutan with a “100% organic country” policy this proves to be an enormous challenge. Farmers increasingly depend on seeds they buy, mostly from huge companies who promote chemical farming and protect their interest with patents. Seeds alarmingly adapt to chemical production methods based on artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Farmers who grow ‘the organic way’ face weakened seeds if they rely on conventional seeds available in the market. Only systematic production of high quality organic seeds will save the future of sustainable agriculture, our health and the cultural values implicate in the human mission to care for the Earth.
In order to bring back seed production in their own hands, farmers often have to start at zero. In many countries there is no organic seeds supply system and regulatory frameworks are hostile to small-scale participatory seed production and distribution initiatives. Economic perspectives are slim in a short term perspective.
Dilip Kumar Subba, organic vegetable seeds producer and the local communities in Tsirang, learning how to grow seeds and how to set up local/ international distribution networks, will not only bring prosperity and happiness, but will re-engage young people with farming.
For over ten years Dilip worked in a well-known small-scale seed production company. He does not reject innovation but resists to follow the trend in commercial seed breeding: compromise with the mainstream and adapt to the industrial farming approach. He decided to relocate his family to Tsirang district in central Bhutan and go back to his remote village-community to start organic seed production for the market. He supports the idea that we should co-create “mindful markets”where long term perspectives, even the interests of future generations, prevail over short term gains.
In order to move the project forward, TOA partners, along with MOA Thailand and TOPS, have planed to fund raise money to support organic seed initiatives in the Tsirang Community.