MoAF Minister says vegetable imports to be regulated for import substitution

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said that when the lockdown happened, for the first two to three days there was a problem since the Ministry supplied the vegetables and thromde distributed it but it didn’t go well since there was shortage of manpower and Thromde was receiving more than 3,000 calls a day.

“They had a difficult time so the Ministry took over the distribution part and first we tried distributing taking DCM and after making the zoning system we took it to different zone centers. And the complaint subsided and there was no complaint that a person has not received vegetables,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo said that the self sufficiency planning in food is not going well because the country has unregulated import.

 “Actually we do not have the record on how much is imported though we have been importing for decades. So we are going to make it a regulated import now. So we are designating FCBL to import all the needed vegetables and they will bring it to Phuentsholing and if Phuentsholing remains under the red zone then FCBL will bring it to Damchu and from Damchu local vendors can take over from FCBL and take it to different dzongkhags and then distribute to the different retail shops,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo said the Department of Agriculture Marketing Cooperative will coordinate with all the dzongkhag agriculture officers and see where the produces are grown and then these private vendors can collect the local produce too.

“We will inform the private vendors and let them know what is available in different places as per their demands. And wherever there is a shortage, we will import which FCBL will do,” said Lyonpo.

He said there will be lesser risk of transmission and another advantage is that government will know how much of what vegetables Bhutan is importing in each season, and then Bhutan can plan for import substitution.

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