In 2014, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa will host a series of celebratory events to appreciate the efforts of forum members in strengthening African agricultural innovation. In line with this, we introduce the FARA Essay competition for students of agriculture programmes in African tertiary institutions.
Topic: The Role of Agricultural Innovation in Creating Food Security in Africa
Format: 500-word count
Language: English or French
Age Eligibility: 15 to 30 years old
Selection of Winners: November 6
Prizes are to be awarded to the winning student and their educational institution - $1,000 to the student and an award for the school. Both the student and a representative of the school will be flown to South Africa for FARA’s celebratory event in November where the award will be presented.
Entrants must be full-time students in an African tertiary institution including Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. This competition is not open to students of African origin studying outside the African continent.
To qualify, entrants are required to register via FARA's Facebook page.
For updates on the competition, entrants are advised to follow the hashtag #FARAEssay on Facebook and Twitter.
Judges will be selected by FARA. Essays will be shortlisted by public voting on Facebook and the final selection will be by FARA judges.
The following are the prize winning essays from the essay competition held at Tashidingkha MSS in commemoration of Social Forestry Day 2014:
1st Prize Category I
We are not new to the fact that trees, humans and other organisms must coexist in harmony. Trees are the basic source of life. Forget the world; let us talk about our country. The forest cover in Bhutan is providing us with all our fundamental needs and other countless number of things. Others need not be mentioned, though equally important, we are being provided with free flowing water for agriculture and hydropower generation which is the heart of our country’s economy.
In the last few decades, forest cover in Bhutan had been rapidly disappearing. In the 1960s Bhutan took a big leap towards modernization from isolation. Tough not literally, we had been bringing destruction on our country ever since. “Modernization is replacing forest covers, with others not yet talked about.” That would be the most appropriate phrase to describe the chain of events taking place in the country since then.
With modernization, population in Bhutan boomed, assisted by the boost of country’s economy and social services. This led to fragmentation of free land and clearing of forests. Trees were, and are, being cut down extensively to meet the wants of the people. Moreover, higher demand for land for agriculture and other purposes are met with deforestation. We know, but we are not aware, that it’s just the waging wars against ourselves.
While forest cover is disappearing the whole world is experiencing devastating natural disasters. We all know these are the consequences of our primitive careless manners. Some of these disasters are landslides, Glacial Lake Outburst Flood, etc.
The world is working towards preserving what we are left with in unison. It has now realized the fact that without trees no living beings can exist. The government of Bhutan is also trying its best to conserve forests.
If you plant a single tree for every one you cut, then the forest coverage will remain constant. If you cannot do that, at least plant a single tree every year. Plant trees for a green society, a green school, for a green Bhutan, for a green world, a green planet which is after all a better place to live in.
Jigme Namgyel, X A
1st Prize, Category II
As said by Lohn Keats, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” The thing which is beautiful lasts forever. Trees are one. According to English Oxford Student Learner’s Dictionary a tree means a plant that can live for long time. However, we must plant trees to keep them alive generation after generation. Otherwise they will disappear forever.
For every hard work there is reward. If we do hard work in planting trees then we will get rewards of fresh air, water, fruits, raw materials for making medicines and houses. Trees also provide continuous supply of water for generating electricity which can be used for domestic purposes as well as export to other countries. This generates income and increases our economy.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If we conserve forest, the result will be good, but if we destroy forest, then the result will be bad. Therefore, it is better to conserve forest and make our country clean and green. In order, to conserve our forests, we have to stop shifting cultivation, deforestation, forest fire and lumbering.
If we cut down a lot of trees, then the world climate will change. Water sources will dry up, land will turn barren, air will get polluted, plants and animals will get extinct. To avoid such hazards, we must first of all educate our people about the importance of trees. Then we should teach them how to take care of our Mother Nature.
Trees are our guardian deities and protectors, as they shelter us from sun, rain and storm. We must look upon them with outmost respect and care.
To achieve the goal of Green Bhutan, we must plant trees and take care of them throughout the country. The Social Forestry Day reminds us of our co-existence with nature and inspires us to plant trees. So let us join hands today and do it.
Krishna Kumari, VIII B
2nd Prize Category I
As quoted by Ralph Waldon Emerson, “Nature never hurries, atom by atom, little by little, she achieves her work.” It is time for the Bhutanese people to think twice and work extra. The term “Green Bhutan” doesn’t only mean that the color of the land should look green all over but it also refers to the happiness of each and every Bhutanese Citizen. Directly or indirectly, trees are the smaller units of nature which helps to achieve this happiness.
Why should people plant trees? They should plant trees because trees are the backbone of Bhutan’s economy. They also help in reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Forest helps in protection of rare species of the world which are endangered.
Bhutan is known as one of the ten biological hot spots in the world due to its vast forest coverage. So it is the responsibility of each and every citizen to work together to uphold with the name. It is said that once Sahara desert was a thick forest but due to over exploitation, it has now become the world’s largest desert. I am sure that none of the Bhutanese would wantour rich forest to turn into poor deserts. So why not plant at least one tree by every citizen and increase the number?
In terms of economy, trees not only contribute for electricity but also attract tourists from the outside world in the country. Tourism is one of the largest income generating industries in Bhutan. Tourists visit Bhutan to take breathes of fresh air and enjoy the beauty of green scenery and crystal clear water.
Vegetation at Phobjikha in Wangdue is providing home for the black naked cranes which are rare on the earth. Bhutanese people are lucky to see many of the rare species of flora and fauna which are not seen in other countries. Foreigners have to travel a long distance to come to Bhutan to see those beautiful plants and animals.
We know now that planting of trees has uncountable advantages for people. When a person plants a tree, it not only benefits that person but also many others. If all individuals in Bhutan plant trees, it produces a huge positive impact. So keep this in mind and plant trees for Green Bhutan.
Phul Moti Mongar, XB
2nd Prize Category II
We are fortunate to have DrukGyalpoJigmeSingayWangchuk as our fourth king because he was the one who inspired us to preserve our greatest treasure of green forest. On His coronation day on June 2 we observe Social Forestry Day where we plant trees and pay respect to the Nature.
Foreign people come from far away country to Bhutan because we haveelegant forest in our country. Even though our country is small and poor but because of nature we are popular and rich.
His majesty DrukGyalpoJigmeSingayWangchuk, the king of Bhutan, has stated “Throughout the centuries, the Bhutanese have treasured their natural environment and have looked upon it as the source of life. We wish to continue living in harmony with nature and to pass on this rich, heritage to our future generations”. Bhutan is also one of the first countries in the world to create trust fund dedicated to environment protection. Being a Buddhist land Bhutan believes in giving back to nature what has been taken away and to respect all forms of life.
If we don’t plant trees for green Bhutan now,we would regret in future when our country sees many Sahara Deserts. Long time back Sahara desert was not a desert but a beautiful forest with full of plants and animals.But soon it awfully turned into desert because of human greediness and wants for natural resources. If this happens in our country, people would feel sad for what they have done to the forest. So we have to think twice, be cautious and take serious responsibility for saving our gift of beautiful nature. Being Bhutanese citizens, let us join our hands together and work to make our homes, schools, country and earth green and beautiful by planting more trees.
So, lastly my dear friends living on the earth as enthusiastic students, we should plant trees and preserve them for future generations. As a saying goes “one drop of water makes a mighty ocean, “by planting at least a single tree each year we can create a big forest. Keep this in mind and act now before it is too late.
Ngawang Dema, Class VIIB
3rd Prize Category I
Trees are basically a plant which is supposedly believed one of the oldest and clearly important features that have existed and still prevails on this earth abundant. In addition to its significant values of air and water for the rest of the depending creatures on earth, it also act as vital factor particular in beautifying mother earth and safe guarding her biodiversity.
Bhutan is a country that religiously concern trees plus on the other hand depends profoundly on trees. ‘Green’ resembles the color of trees and is moreover a refreshing healthy color.
“Just plant a tree and never on it let anyone pee”. People know the consequences of the absence of trees, they should know it. It would result in grave difficulties to all being on earth. Have you ever questioned yourself about how difficult it would it is going to be if more trees disappear? Sometimes do some critical thinking.
Trees have consequently started to decrease in quantity and devastating natural calamities are happening on mother earth due to human commercial and home uses. Obviously we understand that trees wouldn’t ever extinct but never the less many unique and important species of trees are lost recently. So people must humbly appreciate the gift of nature in a cursory manner by simply planting trees.
Bhutan being mountainous country, mountain would wear down due to the disappearance of trees, since the trees make the soil fixed using their roots. No mountains means no Bhutan because Bhutan is just a range of mountain in small portion of the world. Bhutan is also one of the biological hotspots.
Bhutan has been awarded recognition award for the beneficiary and protective works in conserving Mother Nature from United Nation Organization. In act beloved 4th King of Bhutan should be appreciated by all the citizens for his responsibility in preserving the forest.
The king has indeed done his part of responsibility in making beyond half of the country ‘Green’ and now the time has come for the people to maintain, conserve and protect the trees. So, “Plant More Trees for Green Bhutan”.
Sonam Wangchen. IX ‘B’
3rd Prize Category II
As coded by Mahatma Gandhi, “Earth Provides Enough to Satisfy Every Man’s Needs, but Not Every Man’s Greed”. So Bhutan is one of the tenth “Biological Hotspots” in the world that means Bhutan is one of the areas with a richest biodiversity. It is mountainous country surrounded by beautiful forest. Bhutan’s forest cover is 64% of our land. We are fortunate to be born on this green planet, earth, created by the gods. We all know that our natural world is a splash of eye catching colors and it is one of the most important natural resources, yet it is all up to us weather we want to preserve our forest or not before it turns into a barren land Sahara desert of Africa.
Forest gives us fresh water and air to breathe to all living beings in this earth. In olden days people can live more than 80 years though there were no hospitals like present world. It is mainly because of forest which provides medicinal herbs like Om-rib (local medicinal) which is used to treat fiver, lungs and liver diseases and other such as Cordyceps (Yartse Geonbom) which can cure heart diseases and cancer, so it is a rear medicine found on the Himalayan mountain. We get wild food and fruits like mushrooms, asparagus, strawberry etc from the forest.
Our country is rich in forest. People export trees in other countries and make an economic for the country. So, as a saying, “If the wealth is lost nothing is lost, if health is lost everything is lost”. Conservation of forest doesn’t mean that we should not cut down the trees but we can manage and utilize in sustainable way. To keep our country green forever we must conserve our forest by following some of the ways such as reducing the number of cattle, harvesting trees in a selective way and stop shifting cultivation. Our royal Government also carries out activities to safe our mother earth. We have afforestation and reforestation program in our country.
We celebrate 2nd June as social forest day. Actually June 2nd is coronation day of His Majesty 4th King. We celebrate the day by planting trees in our school. In order to maintain 64% of land under forest cover. As per the saying, “It is better to safe than sorry”. So look after our forest and environment before it is too late. Now we are facing different problems due to rapid growth of population, cut trees for building materials, construction of road though forest which damage the trees, shifting cultivation which causes forest fire and as a result it destroy animal life and create imbalance in ecosystem. Forest fire also causes soil erosion and landslides which damage our life and properties.
Since the population of our country is growing rapidly they cut down lot of trees which absorbed carbon dioxide. Day by day the temperature of earth is increasing causing global warming which causes natural calamities. Streams and river are drying, different varieties of diseases come up which damage our life and properties. Animals are disappearing which helps in balancing ecosystem. Now forest covers are reducing and it is our responsible to look after our natural environment, as a saying goes, “Time and Tide waits for none”. So, start working before it is too late.
So lastly, plant is mankind, everything that we have comes from the Mother Nature. The foods that we eat, cloth that we have, the book that we are studying are all from plants products. As a saying goes, “Prevention is better the cure”. So now let us all join our hand to save our mother earth
Kinley Duba, VIII ‘A’
-Essays Submitted by Sr. Dzongkhag Forest Officer, Punakha
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