On 17th December 2011, the Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture and Forests, Lyonpo (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho inaugurated the Bumthang Local Product Outlet and Bumthang Community Seed Bank at Chamkhar under Bumthang Dzongkhag in commemoration of the Royal Wedding and the National Day Celebration.
Different products from buckwheat, barley, vegetables, yak, local handcrafts, medicinal herbs, processed and dried vegetables and other local products are produced and sold in this outlet by eight Farmers Groups from Bumthang.
The Community Seed Bank (CSB) is another program of Bumthang farmers. Community Seed Bank is a field-level Gene Bank that is managed by the Community. Here the seeds of different traditional crop varieties which are also called agro-biological wealth or heritage that are still being cultivated by the farmers are collected and preserved. It is not only the seeds but also the knowledge held by the farmers about the genetic properties of these varieties that are collected and documented. This information is important for scientists and researchers as it tells what traits to look for in which varieties. Multiplication and renewal of the seed samples will be done through a cycle of growing out each sample every alternate year. The routine growing of seed samples out in the field exposes the crop varieties to the prevailing weather and climatic conditions, including pests and diseases, helping them to adjust and adapt.
This whole initiative to enhance production, product development, marketing and setting up of Community Seed Bank has been taken up to contribute to food security, income generation, sustainable agriculture, agro-biodiversity conservation and enhanced resilience of the farming system in the face of emerging challenges such as global warming and climate change.
These outcomes are a result of the collaborative efforts of Bumthang Dzongkhag/Gewog Agriculture sectors, National Biodiversity Centre, Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives and National Organic Program. This initiative is supported and funded by UNDP-GEF through Integrated Livestock and Crop Conservation Project (ILCCP).