The Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperative (DAMC) admitted, there were some disruptions in the vegetable export last year due to the need to follow disease containment measures and lockdowns in Bhutan and India.
DAMC said as long as the disease is not completely contained, it will have to continue following the protocols, but there is optimism that exports will continue without any major disruptions this year facilitated mostly by FCBL and private traders. The ministry is also ready to provide support and intervention.
As compared to the previous years, the difference last year was adhering to the prescribed health protocols necessitating more time, thereby, increasing the cost of marketing, which ultimately affected the profit margins of producers and exporters, said DAMC.
In 2020, DAMC provided close facilitation service for the export of all RNR produce unlike in past years, and they had placed people on the ground in important export gateways in Phuentsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, Gelephu and Nganglam.
Bhutan Trade Statistics, 2020 is not yet out and the following data is from the records of DAMC.
14,341 MT of potato, 2,140 MT of cabbage, 628 MT of carrot, 0.18 MT of chilli, 0.34 MT of cauliflower, 53 MT of beans, 62 MT of beetroot, 31 MT of peas, 9 MT of radish, 417 MT of cardamom and 408 MT of ginger were exported in 2020.
Overall 18,115.18 MT of vegetables worth Nu 686.55 million, 11,275 MT of mandarin worth Nu 394.09 mn and 124 MT of apple worth Nu. 3.62 mn was exported last season.
An official from DAMC said as long as COVID-19 is still existent in other countries, there will be some impact on the market and export values, and therefore, the export figures should not be compared to the export figures during normal times.