According to the Prime Minister (Dr) Lotay Tshering, global food shortages, starvation, and hunger have always existed, and have now been aggravated by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The Prime Minister stated that production is going to be less due to acute shortage of chemical fertilizers as it being nipped at the source.
The government is emphasizing on renewed focus, direction, and attention on local production to address the issue.
In terms of local manufacturing it is very difficult at times due to some factors.
Lyonchhen highlighted that Bhutan has a unique feature and one being that the country has fewer hands working in the field.
More young people are moving to urban places in pursuit of office works, and the amount of fallow land and Gungtong in villages is increasing, affecting food security.
What individuals cultivate is again lost to wild life. On average, 25 to 30 percent of production is lost to wild animals. Some other reasons are climate change and adaptive changes.
“And we will attempt to address as much as possible, but we will not force young people to return to villages to work in the farm as their parents did. So we will mechanize and introduce technology so that we can grow food that is mostly driven by technology,” Lyonchhen said.
Lyonchhen said that beginning with this fiscal year, the government will install chain link fence, which will nearly completely prevent animals from entering except for monkeys.
“We have half a billion in an attempt to address their problem for at least for a few decades,” Lyonchhen said.
In terms of fertilizer, the government is trying with a few other sources; tough it is tough to fix it permanently, but for the time being, the government is obtaining from sources other than India. The country had previously solely bought fertilizers from India which has an export ban on the product due to shortages there.
In addition, Lyonchhen stated that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests’ is testing liquid nano fertilizer. If it is suitable for production, the government of India is prepared to sell it at a subsidized rate.
Domestically, the government is also experimenting with a few centers where the country can develop or manufacture our own standardized fertilizers that are not chemical but organic or bio fertilizer in a few spots.
In addition, the government is attempting to attract FDI in the fertilizer sector.
Lyonchhen added that edible oil is also under threat, and there will be a shortage.
“We are attempting to encourage the production of a few edible oil units in the nation, even if we are unable to do so on a large commercial scale,” Lyonchhen said.