Under the food self-sufficiency and nutrition security plan, one of the three components of the Bhutan’s Economic Contingency Plan (ECP), the government has prioritised agriculture production.
Prioritised commodities include cereals, maize, buckwheat, wheat, vegetables, mustard oil seeds, lentils, meat, fish and milk.
The key objective of the agriculture ECP is to boost agriculture and livestock production for food self-sufficiency, nutritional security and income generation. The ECP also aims to bring back potential fallow land under crop production and provide alternate employment and income generation opportunities for displaced people.
In terms of vegetable production, the agriculture ECP will prioritise winter vegetable production with an objective to reduce imports. Bhutan imported a total of 15,326 tons of vegetables in 2019, out of which 7,542 tons were was imported during the winter months, between August and February, as per the Bhutan Trade Statistics, 2019.
According to kuenselonline.com, the agricultural sector employs 51 percent of the population but contributes 16 percent of the country’s GDP, which is disproportionately low. However, the current pandemic and border restrictions have limited access to the Indian source market.