Opposition says govt’s. chili and egg import lift not sustainable

SHERAB DORJI | Thimphu

The opposition party is concerned with the government’s interim measure in allowing the import of chilies and eggs to overcome the shortage in the country as it will affect the food self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and sustainable growth rate of the country. 

During the opposition party’s meet-the-press on 14 January, the party shared their concern on the future of food sufficiency and security, whereby such ad hoc changes from the government might hamper the agriculture market dynamics.

Opposition Leader (OL) Dorji Wangdi said it is a bad policy on the part of the government to have initiated such a move. “The government should be regulating the policy instead of implementing it.”

The OL further added that the implementation should have been left to the private sector and that the government should stay away from implementing the policies, and rather focus on regulating and monitoring the existing policies. 

The Members of Parliament (MP) of Bomdeling-Jamkhar constituency, Dupthob, said it is not a good solution from the government as it is looking just for short-term benefits instead of long-term benefits. “The people who were supported by the government in the agricultural field during a pandemic are concerned with the import of chillies,” he added.

He further said there are high chances of people losing faith in the government with such policies which do not bode well with the majority.

Regarding the import of eggs, OL shared that importing after 10 to 11 years is a concern showing the regression in the self-sufficiency and self-reliance policy. “If it is a temporary measure, let us tolerate it a bit but the government should do everything to be sure that we are back to self-sufficiency.” 

Meanwhile, to resolve egg shortages in the country the Ministry of Agricultural and Forests (MoAF) authorized Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited (BLDCL) to import eggs from India as an interim measure for four to five months. 

The import of chilies was temporarily lifted by MoAF to ensure availability, stabilize the price, curb illegal import, and also meet 20 percent in-country chilies in the country.