Five Reasons we should buy local farm produce
Not many people realize the impact of what we buy on the economy of our country. I used to buy locally grown vegetables and fruits and locally prepared food products like potato chips just as a gesture of help to our farmers. After joining the Youth Initiative in 2014 I learnt about the many more far reaching benefits of buying local. Since then, I have been pro local like never before. Let me give you five reasons why we should buy local farm produce.
- Local is healthier
Local vegetables and fruits are healthier. Our farmers don’t use chemicals and even if they use it’s very less (watch how vegetables and fruits are treated here). It’s a proven fact that when you consume vegetables and fruits which are treated with chemicals the same chemicals get in your body and affect your health. Click the link to see which of the fruits are vegetables are most likely to have chemicals in them.
- Buying local farm produce reduces imports
Our country is an import dependent country. The average cost of our food import for the last few years is close to Nu 7 billion contributing to about 20% of our national trade deficit. If we buy what is grown by our local farmers we will reduce imports. This means that less money will be flowing out and the country will be saving.
- Buying local farm produce will enable better use of our agricultural land
We learnt in our Geography classes in school that Bhutan’s arable land is eight percent of our total land area. However, recent statistics show that only 2.93% of our land is cultivated. By the way, our total land area is 38,394 sq.km (just in case you missed the figure) Coming back to the point, we are not fully using our agricultural area. Because there is no scope, people are getting educated and moving to towns for better opportunities and the blah blah goes on.
But we can create a market scope for our farmers by choosing to buy local. We can create an opportunity for our people to make a living out of farming. We can make optimum use of our agricultural land. Yes, we can.
- Buying local farm produce contributes to Gross National Happiness.
I have not heard of any such research done for Bhutan but according to a research done in the US from every 100 dollars you spend on buying local 68 stays in in the community. When you buy imported only 48 remains. I’m sure this works for Bhutan too. So, if you are buying local you are giving back to your community. This means that our farmers will have more to spend on the education of their children and for the improvement of their living standards. Buying local strengthens our economy and is the way to realizing food self-reliance.
- Buying local creates opportunities for farmers and helps control rural urban migration
In 2015 I went to my village after 12 years. I was shocked with what I saw. I found that the land areas where villagers used to grow paddy and maize before were not only fallow but were forested as well. Many people had moved elsewhere because there are no opportunities in the village. But we can make that opportunity for them by buying what they grow.
So, help our economy and our country grow by buying local farm produce.
Where can you buy local farm produce?
- The top floor of the centenary farmers’ market (Vegetable Market).
- B-COOP Shops
- Happy Green Cooperative
- One-Stop Farmers shops by the roadsides
- You can also buy directly by asking farmers in your area to sell their produce to you.
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