Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Model farmer from Bhutan honoured at the Asia-Pacific World Food Day celebration

Bhutan, 18 Oct 2004 -- Bangkok – Today, the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok has issued awards to five outstanding farmers from the Asia-Pacific Region. The farmers received the awards from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn during the 2004 World Food Day celebration in Bangkok.

Below please find the citation used during the ceremony to highlight the achievements of the farmer from Bhutan.

Kaka Dema – highland farmer, Bhutan

Twenty-two year old Kaka Dema comes from the tiny village of Remi in Bhutan. Her parents eked out an existence by herding livestock and growing a few simple vegetables for their own consumption, a way of life that hadn’t changed for centuries. Although Kaka Dema has just a primary school education, she is blessed with curiosity and an open mind to try something new that might improve her life and the lives of her family.

With the aid of a pamphlet on new farming methods, access to seed and, most of all, her own hard work, she found success raising a variety of new vegetables such as potatoes, chilies and pumpkins, along with wheat and other cereals. She also grows costas root, a medicinal plant widely used in Bhutan. Aside from feeding her family, the sale of these cash crops have allowed her to buy 12 cows and 10 hens. She’s even been able to save money in the hope that one day she will be able to buy her own bullock to plow her fields.

This young mother of a 3-year-old boy has shown that she has the strength, the heart and the intelligence to not just survive, but to prosper from working the land more than 3 000 meters above sea level. Her success has served as a model and inspiration for other farming families high in her Himalayan community. Following in her footsteps, many have seen their lives improve. By leading the way for others, Kaka Dema has proven that she is a true pioneer, and she is thus awarded by FAO for outstanding achievement in highland farming.

RAP 04/35A

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