Bhutan’s agrifood sector poised for transformation

Bhutan’s agricultural landscape is on the brink of significant transformation, as evidenced by the recent unveiling of the Country Programming Framework (CPF) by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

This strategic blueprint, unveiled during the Bhutan Agrifood Trade and Investment Forum (BATIF) 2024, underscores a concerted effort to bolster the nation’s agrifood systems, aligning with the government’s ambitious development plans.

Led by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, the launch of the CPF marks a pivotal moment in Bhutan’s journey towards sustainable economic growth. With USD 83 million earmarked within the 13th Plan, the aim is clear: to elevate the agriculture sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product substantially by 2029 and 2034.

At the heart of the CPF lie four key priority areas: sustainable agrifood systems’ transformation, food security, climate-smart agriculture, and disaster risk management. These pillars not only reflect national imperatives but also resonate with regional and global agendas, ensuring a holistic approach to development.

The FAO Representative for Bhutan and Nepal also emphasized the significance of collaborative commitments in realizing the CPF’s objectives. With substantial funding already secured and more in the pipeline, there’s optimism about the framework’s effectiveness in driving tangible outcomes.

Central to Bhutan’s agrifood narrative is its participation in the One Country One Product (OCOP) initiative, with quinoa designated as its OCOP. This strategic move not only addresses food insecurity but also empowers smallholders and family farms, fostering resilience in the face of challenges.

Furthermore, the CPF underscores the importance of inclusive rural transformation and resilience building. By harnessing the sustainable value chain of school agriculture programs, Bhutan aims to ensure food security, promote nutrition, and safeguard the environment for future generations.

The document’s inception was marked by an inclusive and collaborative process, encapsulating the alignment of national priorities with global imperatives. It represents a commitment to fostering sustainable economic growth, promoting decent employment, and enhancing social services, all while ensuring environmental sustainability.

In light of the UAE Declaration at COP28, there’s a growing recognition of the need to scale up adaptation and resilient activities in agriculture. Bhutan’s CPF is poised to address these challenges head-on, creating an enabling environment for workers and promoting food security and nutrition.

As Bhutan charts its course towards agrifood sector transformation, the CPF serves as a beacon of hope and collaboration. With a clear roadmap in place, bolstered by strategic partnerships and international support, the nation is well-positioned to realize its vision of a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive agrifood landscape.

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