Our own member Les Baxter was the guest speaker. He gave an overview of his time in Bhutan.
During that time Les was an Agricultural consultant, working specifically on a dis-ease in their citrus crop called ‘Citrus Greening Disease’ which had the potential to have a devastating effect on this important crop for them.
He started with a summary of this country, though. It is adjacent to India and Chi-na, and is in the Himalaya precinct. As such it is very high in elevation, which brings its own problems, I has a population of 800,000 people and quite a small GDP. Only 2.6% of it is arable due to the mountainous terrain. Farms have to be terraced into the mountainsides.
The main religion is Buddhism, and many superb temples exist. It is very picturesque, nutrition is generally very good, and a pleasant country. People are welcoming to outsiders, and seem to be peace loving in general.
The main products are mandarins and potatoes, and it was the concern with the former that lead to Les’ project. It was undertaken through the International Agricultural research arm of DFAT (known as ACIAR). Les’s work resulted in a successful conclusion.