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

Bhutan is expected to receive the first consignment of the...

According to Indian media, the consignment of 150,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield for...

Jan 20, 2021 15:04

What are the different local governments in Bhutan?

Bhutan’s development planning is guided by the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which...

Jan 19, 2021 11:03

Thimphu and Paro lockdown extended for two more weeks

For residents in Thimphu and Paro, today will mark the 21 days of lockdown. The government has imposed an additional...

Jan 09, 2021 18:59

Second Lockdown in Bhutan - Is it going to get worse?

Earlier this morning at the first hour, the Office of Prime Minister announced on the social media page that the Thimphu...

Dec 20, 2020 18:34

The different types of ceremonial scarves in Bhutan

The rank of the bearer will determine the colour of kabney or rachu that he or she wears.

Dec 18, 2020 12:05

COVID-19 pandemic did not deter Bhutanese from celebrating 113th...

Thousands of Bhutanese listened to the Royal Address and viewed the ceremony and National Day entertainment programme...

Dec 18, 2020 10:27

Latest

News

Bhutan is expected to receive the first consignment of the vaccines today

According to Indian media, the consignment of 150,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield for Bhutan was airlifted...

Jan 20, 2021 15:04

What are the different local governments in Bhutan?

Bhutan’s development planning is guided by the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which encompasses four pillars that...

Jan 19, 2021 11:03

Features

What are the types of traditional dances and music in Bhutan?

In general, there are three classifications of Bhutanese classical and contemporary performance - Zhungdra, Boedra and Rigsar.

Jan 17, 2021 20:27

Splendid Bhutanese architecture inspired the design of the entire university campus in Texas

The architectures of the Kingdom of Bhutan are undisputedly world-class.

Jan 14, 2021 15:24

Sports

Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

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

Business

Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Travel

Bhutan Strives to Keep Up With 4th Industrial Revolution through Digitalization in Tourism Sector

The pandemic has affected the tourism industry globally including Bhutan. The stakeholders involved in the tourism industry is taking the...

Jan 12, 2021 00:38

Dakpa princess entombed inside popular stupa in Trashi Yangtse

Every year, the stupa is a holy site for two major festivals - the Dakpa Kora held on the 15th of the first lunar month and the Drukpa Kora...

Dec 23, 2020 00:44

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!