Agriculture’s Nu 50 bn aim and how it plans to get there

During the second session of the Meet-the-Press held on Friday, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL), Younten Phuntsho, unveiled the ministry’s vision contribution to help transform the nation into a USD 5 billion economy by 2029.

MoAL has made a resolute commitment to bolstering the agricultural sector and elevating its contribution to the national GDP.

Lyonpo highlighted the ministry’s prioritised strategies aimed at pushing Bhutan’s agricultural landscape towards unprecedented growth.

Lyonpo said, “Our goal is clear: To achieve a GDP contribution of Nu 50 billion by 2029, aligning with the government’s vision for economic prosperity.”

MoAL has outlined a plan to achieve its targets, focusing on five key areas: Large-scale commercialization, emphasising the commercialization of prioritised commodities, the ministry aims to enhance the economic performance of the agricultural sector. This strategy seeks to attract private investment and foreign direct investment (FDI), thereby, supplementing the sectoral contribution to the national GDP.

The minister said that introducing hi-tech Chirub (Joint) farms stand as a cornerstone of the ministry’s strategy to boost production and income within the agricultural sector. These advanced farms will leverage cutting-edge technology to optimise efficiency and productivity.

Likewise, in a bid to tap into new high-end markets, Bhutan plans to export high-value commodities to destinations such as Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and the Middle East. Asparagus, black pepper, quinoa, sturgeon, trout, and honey have been earmarked as key export commodities.

The ministry aims to forge robust links between farms and various institutions, such as schools, hospitals, religious institutions, and military academies. This integration ensures assured markets for farmers while facilitating a steady supply of food and vegetables for institutions, thus reducing reliance on imports.

As part of an entrepreneurship promotion to add value to agricultural and livestock products, MoAL will develop and promote agri-food enterprises and entrepreneurs. This includes initiatives to enhance product development, improve packaging, establish branding, obtain certification, and diversify market channels.

As part of the 13th Five-Year Plan (13FYP), MoAL is poised to promote and support hi-tech commercial farming ventures. The minister explained key strategies to ensure the success of these ventures.

Lyonpo said, “Our approach involves collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including the Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL), government agencies, youth and Desuups.”

The key strategies include a collaborative approach, like the hi-tech Chirub Farm, which will be a collaborative effort, leveraging the expertise and resources of multiple stakeholders. The utilisation of proven technology minimises the risk of technological failure. Early engagement of youth and adults ensures capacity building across the entire value chain, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment.

Lyonpo said, “The government will provide policy oversight, technical expertise, and initial investment mobilisation to bolster the success of the venture. Initially targeting priority commodities with assured markets within the country, such as schools and institutes, enhances the likelihood of success. The integration of technology and machinery makes farming more appealing and accessible to youth and adults, further increasing the prospects of success.”

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