Supporting orchid propagation at community level through Bhutan Access and Benefit Sharing (BABS) Fund

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The National Biodiversity Center in collaboration with the Dzongkhag Forest Office, Trongsa supported the establishment of two orchid propagation house and provided six-day hands-on training on propagation of orchid (Cymbidium hookerianum) commonly known as ola tshe to 33 farmers at Simphu, Nubi Gewog, Trongsa from 17 to 23 March 2011.

The project was initiated with the following objectives:

  • discourage collection of orchids from the wild which is under threat from over exploitation;
  • supply orchid saplings for household requirement from the common propagation house;
  • promote community income generation through sale of ola tshe, and
  • strengthen capacity of farmers in orchid propagation and management.

The mother stock for the propagation was contributed by the participating households from their individual household collections. The Simphu Orchid Management Group comprising 33 households was also formed to ensure the proper management of the orchid house for the benefit of the community. The community orchid house will supply orchid saplings for household requirements in order to prevent the collection of orchids from the wild, which is reported to be on the decline by the community.

The income generated through the sale of saplings and orchid flowers from the propagation house will be managed as community fund through the newly developed community bylaws. As per the bylaws, individuals will be fined Nu. 500.00 if he or she is found collecting orchids from the wild and outsiders Nu.1500.00. Farmers were very excited and thankful for the support and provided assurance to stop collection from the wild. As a gesture of respect to Mother Nature, the group will plant a batch of new saplings from the propagation house in the nearby community forests next year.

The fund for the above project was supported through the Bhutan Access and Benefit Sharing Fund (BABS Fund) generated from the sale of orchid (Cymbidium erythraeum) flowers to Quantum Pharmaceuticals Limited (QPL), Switzerland as one of the ingredients for the production of a cosmetic product called REDEEM (world’s first anti-aging plasma) in a collaborative undertaking with the MoAF.

Similar support and training on propagation of Cymbidium erythraeum will be provided to 18 households of Jibdungsa Community Forests, Wangdue in collaboration with the Dzongkhag Forest Office, Wangdue from 10 to 13 April 2011. Orchid flowers from the group will be purchased by NBC and supplied to QPL for production of REDEEM.

Reported by the National Biodiversity Centre and Dzongkhag Forest Office, Trongsa

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