The Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said the government is focusing on southern dzongkhags for the production of winter vegetables.
“Taking the example of Onion, if there is any restriction of import it is important for us to make ourselves sufficient. The government policy for food and nutrition security means both quantity and quality but since there have been easily imported goods which are cheaper we have been so used to depending on such goods,” he said.
The minister said that this time it received practical knowledge that it is also important for Bhutan to prepare its own food production when there is a restriction of import in light of recent onion export ban by India.
He said the government had requested the Indian government to lift the ban for Bhutan.
Lyonpo said the government is supporting southern dzongkhags with land development, irrigation facilities, green houses and seeds for the production of winter vegetables.
“We are supplying them to the extent that is possible but then that does not mean that only those seven dzongkhags can produce winter vegetables. The inner dzongkhags especially along the low lying river basins have an opportunity. Through the Economic Contingency Plan the dzongkhags have been encouraged to produce winter vegetables, so the works are on track and everyone is expecting good production in winter as per the reports that we have been receiving from all the dzongkhags,” Lyonpo said.
Lyonpo added that the farmers were expressing their worries about how they will be able to sell their produces when the time comes and that he said is a good indication.
“We responded asking them to keep on producing and the government will take care of the marketing. People are working and its quite encouraging, so whatever we can produce we must produce and whatever we are not able to produce and wherever there is a shortfall we will continue with the import. We will assess the shortfall and BAFRA will accordingly issue permits for import,” Lyonpo added.
Lyonpo said that the government had placed a request to the Government of India through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Embassy of India in Bhutan for the import of onion in the country.
This request was accepted as India will export 150 MT of onions to Bhutan until December.