Bhutan, which currently exports all of its farm produce to India and neighboring countries, has been making efforts to expand export markets for its agricultural produce
Bhutan, which currently exports all of its farm produce to India and neighboring countries, has been making efforts to expand export markets for its agricultural produce. The lack of market access beyond neighboring countries is among the key reasons exporters suffer losses.
Bhutan's Minister for Agriculture and Forest Yeshey Penjor has informed the country’s parliament that the ministry had been working on a plan, in close consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to increase and broaden the export market base for the country’s farm produce.
Acknowledging the issue, he said, “The ministry has focused on agricultural produce production but has lacked efforts in exporting produce.”
Vegetable farmers and exporters in the country often suffer huge losses as they often face issues in exporting theirs produces. India, Bhutan’s biggest trade partner, doesn’t permit the import of plants and vegetables as it is not specified under the former’s Plant Quarantine Order 2003. However, New Delhi makes concessions from time to time to allow the imports on an exceptional basis.
Penjor also informed that Bhutanese embassies were in touch with the ministry to explore potential markets for the country’s farm produces.
“Our exporters did not assess the quality of the product and immediately exported after harvesting. They did not know where the produce was taken and what prices were fetched,” he was quoted as saying by Kuensel newspaper.
Bhutanese farmers have been facing difficulties this year in getting chemical fertilizers. Shortage of fertilizers across the world, including in India, has been affecting the yield. The government said it was working with private companies to manufacture natural fertilizers.
Bhutan imports fertilizers from India which has been also facing difficulties this year. Bhutanese officials are also in touch with Bangladesh to import fertilizers.