Ensuring food security in Bhutan

The World Food Day is celebrated to promote worldwide awareness and action for those suffering from hunger

SONAM PENJOR

Thimphu

Bhutan celebrated World Food Day (WFD) this year on October 18 with a global theme, “Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.”

The day reinforced the need to encourage awareness on sustainable agricultural practices and to celebrate ‘Food Heroes’ who work tirelessly to provide food for the world, collectively call for global solidarity in ensuring adequate access to nutritious food for all despite exigencies like the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister for Agriculture and Forests (MoAF), Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor acknowledged all the farmers in the country for their unwavering dedication in pursuing clean and healthy food production for the entire country.

He also acknowledged the little efforts made by each individual, including school children who grow food as part of their school curriculums, which he said has an important contribution in realizing the larger goals of food nutrition and security.

Lyonpo also stated that the government is delighted to integrate the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation (UN) global theme into our own strategies for food and nutrition security.

“We must use and draw on such international platforms to raise awareness on the need for supporting the transformation into more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for enhanced production, improved nutrition, safer environment, and a better life while leaving no one behind as enshrined in the UN’s SDG imperatives,” Lyonpo said.

World Food Day is the creation of the FAO to promote worldwide awareness and action for those suffering from hunger and in acknowledgment of the importance and need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. The WFD, this year marked the 76th anniversary of the FAO of the UN.

As a part of the celebration, UN Representative, Gerald Daly highlighted on two important messages pertaining to Covid-19 and food security and strategies of UN policy on “leave no one behind”.

“I recommend the ministry’s document titled ‘Bhutan National Pathways in Agriculture’ published in August 2021. This is the best document in agriculture I have read in the last four years,” Gerald Daly said.

The book highlights some challenging facts in Bhutan’s agriculture sector which the backbone of rural society, engaging 57 percent of the national workforce.

Gerald Daly said that quality statistics are critical to our work and that Bhutan’s agriculture statistics are truly reliable.

The Bhutan National Pathways has some things that may need to be reconsidered. Gerald Daly added “We should not wait until 2023 to nudge consumers to consume healthier diets and should not wait until 2024, to upscale schemes to bring fallow land into productive use.”

“I understand the Bhutan National Pathways in agriculture document is going to be used to upgrade the RNR 2030 strategy. I wish to suggest that the RNR 2030 strategy emphasizes two key elements, and these are the implementation plan for RNR and who is accountable for achieving the results in the implementation plan,” he said.

Meanwhile the agriculture minister said the MoAF has been working hard to maximize food production so that we realize our national goal of food self-sufficiency and food security.

He said that while celebrating the day, we should honour and pay tribute to the efforts put in and achievements made by the FAO and WFP in reaching out to the hungry ones around the planet.

The country representatives of FAO, WFP, UNICEF, JICA, Secretaries of MoH and MoAF, Director Generals, Directors and officials from the MoAF attended the program.