The lack of market access for agricultural produces is a perennial problem in Bhutan and the government has now decided to improve the market access system to reduce the losses incurred by farmers
The lack of market access for agricultural produces is a perennial problem in Bhutan and the government has now decided to improve the market access system to reduce the losses incurred by farmers.
The agriculture ministry will revamp the existing market system in the next three years, aiming to cut the losses of the government as well as farmers. The current system, where the government buys most of the farmers’ produces, often results in heavy losses to the government as they fail to access the market to sell these products.
Potato, cardamom, areca nut, ginger, cabbage, beans, carrot, maize, and paddy are among the produces that government direct procures from farmers under the buy-back scheme. However, uncertain market access and the lack of cold storage result in losses.
Last year, the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB), the government agency responsible for procurement, incurred a loss of around $293,000.
In the next three years, the government will build five more cold storages which will allow them to store produces safely and to sell them when there is a demand for those products. Also, the government will also introduce differing procurement prices depending upon several factors, including nutrition value and location.
The new system will also encourage farmers to go for crops that fetch good returns and with relatively low fluctuations in prices.
Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor also suggested that the buy-back price set by the government should be competitive, meaning that the price the government fixes should be attractive for the farmers to sell to the government. “If the price is fixed based on availability during the season, farmers would attempt to produce during the lean season,” he was quoted as saying by Kuensel newspaper.
Apart from this, there will also be an emphasis on developing the value chain.