No stable local markets for off season vegetables: NC Report on RNR Marketing Policy

The members of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee (NREC) presented the interim review report on the Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) Marketing Policy to the House.

Although RNR Marketing Policy is in place, there are challenges that impede the operation and performance of the RNR sector, in terms of the marketing of products.

The interim report on RNR states that there are no stable local markets for off season vegetables, cereal crops, like maize, buckwheat, and cash crops, like cabbages and ginger, and also no suitable export market for cardamom, apples, and oranges.

Further, the trend of imports and exports value of RNR products are diverging rather than converging where imports are on increasing trend and the exports are in decreasing trend as per the Bhutan Trade Statistics Report, 2016, 2017, 2018.

The commercial production of the RNR products was not undertaken aggressively by the farmers due to the marketing problems. Therefore, in order to address this marketing problem, there is a need to review the current RNR Marketing Policy with an objective to have a comprehensive understanding of the policy, its strategies and its implementation mechanism.

NREC was assigned to review the buyback policy during the 14th plenary meeting, the issue was given priority as one of the major concerns raised by the people were on the buyback policy during their constituency visit.

In the process of reviewing the issues, the committee then observed that there were issues related to marketing policy and its mechanism. Therefore, the committee decided to review the whole RNR Marketing Policy to resolve the issues for a substantial outcome.

The RNR marketing policy of Bhutan was adopted in 2018 mainly to facilitate the transformation of current subsistence farming into commercial.

The policy was approved during the 151st  sitting of the Lhengye Zhungtshog on 13 February 2018. The five major policy objective is to strengthen the policy environment and institutional framework, enhance RNR product value addition, strengthen RNR marketing infrastructure, enhance access to RNR marketing finance, enhance RNR commodity marketing, and strengthen RNR marketing information and risk management.

Members of Parliament of National Council highlighted the issues in their dzongkhags on the current marketing system on the local production, the members suggested the committee to carry out a case study on particular local products, an impact assessment on the policy, strategies to improve exporting products, need to enhancing farmer’s market facilities, human-wildlife condition on the urban migration, auction yards issues and reserved price, storage facilities in dzongkhags, and value addition of local products amongst others.

Welcoming valuable suggestions from the House for enhancing the review work, the committee reported that after a thorough analysis by the NREC the inclusive review report on the policy will be presented to the House in the 25th session with appropriate recommendations for further discussion and submission to the government.

The final report will be submitted in the 25th session along with the Committee’s observations and recommendations.

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