FOOD SECURITY- Rice for three meals could face repercussion on our security

Email

“One of our primary objectives is to be self-reliant. When we talk about self-reliance it means that we should be able to stand on our own, without depending on others.” - His Majesty The King


The first thing you see when you are about to land in Paro International Airport is the terraces of the paddy fields; vibrant green during plantation time and beautiful yellow during the harvest time. Village hamlet and international Airport are located in the middle of acres of paddy fields. Rice is the staple food for more than half of the world’s population, mainly Asian countries. Bhutanese rice has been a part of our traditional diet. Red rice grown in the western part of Bhutan is a great source for carbohydrates. Bhutanese red rice is also exported to other countries in the world. Natural Bhutan is one of Bhutanese based firm that exports organic Bhutanese products. 

Rice still makes up for a dominant portion of our Bhutanese diet for most of the households consume rice for all three meals on daily basis.


Bhutan is covered with 38,394 square kilometers with a population of 736,100. Although the size and the population are proportional because of its location in the Himalayan ranges, the majority of our country is either too steep or too cold for farming. With 83.9 percent of forest coverage, the arable land makes up for 2.62 percent of the total land only. Out of which only 319.1 square kilometers are irrigated land. Thus Bhutan is only 47 percent self-sufficient in rice.

It is said that, in the 1960s, Thimphu used to be just a cluster of few houses surrounded by acres of paddy fields. But now, due to urbanization, a huge portion of our agriculture land has been converted into dry- land for the development of infrastructure. All we see are buildings sprouting everywhere. There are hardly few paddy fields left.


Further, on top of all the urbanization challenges, it is economically difficult for our farmers to compete with the rate of imported rice in the market. People opt to buy imported rice or the locally produced due to cost factors, which leaves our farmers discouraged to do large scale production. Our farmers don’t earn enough for the resources and time invested in rice farming.


Because of our landlocked status and the cold harsh terrain in the north, we sought our trade arrangements/relations in the South, with India. India is the primary and major source of Bhutan’s import. As per the Bhutan Trade Statistic, in 2018 alone, Bhutan has imported goods worth Nu. 59.81 billion from India. Out of which, the top 7 commodities to be imported were rice worth Nu. 1.689 billion.


Ministry of Agriculture and Forest has set its target to achieve 65 percent of self-sufficiency in rice. Their primary effort has been put in farm mechanization. But we must realize that most of our terrains are too steep for machines. Moreover, these cultivable lands are fragmented and scattered in most of the remote places.


FOOD SECURITY


Bhutanese has to understand that we can’t change our geography. But that shouldn’t stop us from making the most of what we have. We didn’t import rice during the times of our forefather; our farmers could produce enough and we were self-sufficient in rice. Therefore, when it comes to a simple choice, while at the market for shopping, Bhutanese should make an effort to promote local products, even if they are a little expensive than imported goods. If we don’t encourage our farmers, who will?


The survival of our nation between two globally powerful nations takes constant effort. We have to consider the consequences of every decision and we cannot afford to be reckless when it comes to the security of our nation. Therefore, we have to take food security seriously. Our dependence on other countries for basic food could highly impact our independence. The security of the country shouldn’t be only about border security, Bhutanese must rethink of Food Security.

 



Related Posts

Virtual Tsechu in Bhutan amid Pandemic.

Tsechu (Festival ) is one of the biggest religious celebrations of the Bhutanese year in every district in Bhutan....

Sep 21, 2020 12:38

Technology-based Conservation in Bhutan

Bhutan homes around 11,248 species making us one of the biodiverse countries in the world. With the digital age, how is...

Sep 16, 2020 19:23

Bhutan 'travel bubbles' tourism plan from March 2021

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) 'travel bubble' proposal consists of 2 options that may be implemented from March...

Sep 11, 2020 16:42

7 Benefits of Cordyceps

Cordyceps have been widely used in traditional chinese medicine (TCM) and some branches of herbalism for centuries....

Sep 01, 2020 16:24

10 COVID-19 initiatives in Bhutan during nationwide lockdown

Many initiatives have been taking place in this tiny Himalayan nation to ensure the well-being of the Bhutanese during...

Aug 21, 2020 15:12

Dharma King of Bhutan augment enormous respect for the...

And nation strengthens solidarity during Lockdown period.

Aug 14, 2020 00:31

Latest

News

Virtual Tsechu in Bhutan amid Pandemic.

Tsechu (Festival ) is one of the biggest religious celebrations of the Bhutanese year in every district in Bhutan. Tsechu has been held...

Sep 21, 2020 12:38

Technology-based Conservation in Bhutan

Bhutan homes around 11,248 species making us one of the biodiverse countries in the world. With the digital age, how is Bhutan using...

Sep 16, 2020 19:23

Features

The Heart Shaped Stone- Story to remember while you hike through Phobjikha Nature Trail.

Interesting Stories from the Trail

Sep 09, 2020 18:29

View from the Sky For Every Travellers Flying into Bhutan

Despite Boeing ranking Paro airport as 'one of the world's most difficult for takeoffs and landings, the views over the clear blue waters...

Aug 06, 2020 14:25

Sports

Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Business

Are Local Vendors Earning More Money Than the Civil Servant?

A Farmer from Lango, Paro gave up farming to be vendor while office goers are switching into agriculture as the remedy to curb their...

Jul 27, 2020 19:15

Once the booming Handicraft Shops in Paro Dying- Paro Today

Paro town looks so different in its history as tourist destination in Bhutan.

Jun 24, 2020 16:58

Travel

The Significance of Jela Dzong

The journey towards the most popular Druk Path Trek starts with a short climb up to Jela Dzong. Jela Dzong is perched on top of the...

Sep 19, 2020 13:57

The Longest Urban Hiking Trail from PangriZampa to Lungtenphu, Thimphu

This trail is a less explored pocket of paradise for trekkers and wanderers who are in search of natures hospitality and solitude away from...

Aug 05, 2020 10:40

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!