BCCI and MoAF launch commercial agriculture competition

In efforts to encourage agribusiness, the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) along with the Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives (DAMC), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, is holding a RNR (Renewable Natural Resources) Innovative Business Idea Competition 2015.

The competition will select and promote the innovative and cost effective proposals to provide employment opportunity and to slow down the rural–urban migration. Such a competition aims to enhance commercial farming, a key agriculture sector, for increasing rural income to combat rural poverty. It also comes as part of the government initiatives in support the private sector linkage to farmers who are the primary producers of agricultural products.

Programes and activities, such as strengthening commercial farming, farmers’ groups and cooperatives, increased marketing infrastructures, establishment of market outlets, product development, value addition, packaging, set up of warehouses, are being implemented to enhance commercial scale agriculture in the country.

According to BCCI, the business ideas must be related to the agriculture sector linking with market that brings benefit in four gewogs in Sarpang and six gewogs in Zhemgang. It should also support other areas with shared benefits between the project proponents and the project communities.

The Rural Livelihood Project-II, funded by Helvetas Swiss Inter-Cooperation, is a main intervention strategy to support the farmers in Sarpang and Zhemgang to make the best use of new market opportunities. The project has involved BCCI to facilitate and link the primary producers to markets, traders, large consumers and processors, and to establish fair relationships among the market-chain actors. This is expected to promote the viable small and medium enterprises and trading enterprises to process and market an increased quantity of products with improved quality.

To this end, one of the activities proposed by the project is to hold a competition to generate innovative business ideas related to RNR in Zhemgang and Sarpang. The last date for the submission of the proposal is on May 4.

The competition is open to anyone having innovative business ideas and desire to be an agriculture entrepreneur. The proposal will look for technical feasibility, economic viability, systemic approach to market chain development, and it must be socially acceptable.

The winner will be awarded a prize ranging from Nu 10,000 to Nu 70,000. Women entrepreneurs who compete in the competition stand to win additional awards.

The regional office of BCCI at Gelephu is the focal institution for the project in collaboration with the BCCI in Thimphu, project management unit, Zhemgang, DAMC and the dzongkhag and gewog RNR sectors.

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