The long road to food self sufficiency

Email

Although Bhutan has 70.46 percent forest coverage, arable land, is only 2.93 percent.

While Bhutan has envisioned achieving food self-sufficiency in the future, it is not likely that it would be achieved anytime soon given one major hurdle being land degradation.

Agriculture and forests minister Yeshey Dorji said Bhutan is no exception to the affects of land degradation because of the country’s mountainous and rugged terrains, limited area of good land and simultaneously the limited area under agriculture.

“Our farmers are forced to cultivate even up to 40 degree slopes, which by international standard is unsuitable for agriculture,” he said, adding that the rugged terrains and extreme climatic regimes further limited the scope of expanding the land area, especially for agriculture.

The minister said 58 percent of the country’s population still depended on agriculture for their livelihoods by subsisting on just about three percent of the total land area.

“Hence, this small proportion of agriculture land is increasingly put under tremendous pressure by different forms of land degradation,” he added.

Land degradation, meanwhile, has become a major concern both locally and globally. As per available report, an estimated 3.6 billion hectares worldwide are being affected by desertification and various other forms of land degradation.

 Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji also said that land degradation is prevalent all across the country and that it is one of the main factors impacting our crop productivity and national food and nutrition security.

“The need to combat land degradation in our country was felt as early as 1960s and various land management programs and projects have been implemented ever since,” Lyonpo said.

 However, he added that such initiatives by different sectors have been largely taking place in isolation without macro-level policy and or strategic perspective.

“It’s high time that we now address land degradation problems and issues through specific policies and proper institutional mechanisms, coordination of cross-sectoral issues, programs and activities for the effectively and efficiently management of land degradation in the country,” the minister suggested.

According to Dr. Tshering Dorji of National Soil Services Center (NSSC), Department of agriculture (DoA), MoAF, land degradation neutrality (LDN) under sustainable development goals (SDGs) as 15.3 minimum target was set to maintain and increase the amount of healthy and productive land resources.

“Addressing land degradation issues in a more holistic and systematic manner is very important in our country,” he said

However, he said that the relevance of LDN will largely depend on the status of current land resources, the severity, extent and impact of land degradation and the importance that people accord to land resources.

 “Climate change impacts and also the way people manage land resources will also make the variation,” Dr. Tshering Dorji explained, adding that the prevalence of land degradation is throughout the country, mostly in the eastern and southern parts due to unstable geo stabilities and the presence of thrust zones.

He mentioned that these two parts of the country have steep and unstable slopes, unsustainable management of land resources and lack of clear land use policies and guidelines, thus leading to climate change and loss of biodiversity.

 “About 206 square kilometers (O.5 percent) of land are degraded by landslides, gullies, ravines and glacial moraines,” he said, adding that the most extensive form of land degradation is surface erosion, which occurs mostly in agriculture farm and bare land.

Further, about three – 21 tons/ hectares of fertile topsoil are being lost annually from the agriculture land in the country and that Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) spends about USD 16M (million) a year in repairing the turbines and other underwater structures due to sediment loading, according to Dr. Tshering Dorji.

Meanwhile, the LDN implemented is reportedly needed in the country for the proper management of land resources, to combat land degradation, to streamline and mainstream land management activities into government policies and plants to mobilize financial resources.

 “All these could be enhanced by tapping LDN opportunities,” Dr. Tshering Dorji said, adding that LDN in the country would enhance rural livelihood, create employment opportunities, and establish proper coordination mechanism in combating land degradation, tap financial resources and also benefit in achieving multiple SDGs.

Meanwhile, Bhutan is amongst the 110 countries committed to set national land degradation neutrality targets. Works toward achieving LDN is expected to bring multiple benefits and also help in maintaining Bhutan as one of the carbon neutral countries and biodiversity hotspots in the world, while also enhancing rural livelihoods

Related Posts

Employment opportunities amid crisis - Tour guides opts farming

A tour guide could earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 per month during the peak tourist season in Bhutan. The income made was...

May 19, 2020 19:53

Covid-19 response must address gender-based violence, other...

“The social and economic stress that Covid-19 pandemic brings upon households places women and girls in vulnerable...

May 12, 2020 16:46

Bhutanese conservationist’s Phuntsho Thinley mission to save...

A wildlife biologist from Bhutan has won a prestigious Whitley Award for his lifelong work to preserve the rare alpine...

May 04, 2020 11:26

Nu 15.5M spent on testing people for Covid-19 in Bhutan

So far 9,964 people tested for novel coronavirus and it continues .

May 01, 2020 07:54

The Test of Loyalty & Commitment Among Bhutanese Employers in...

Amid the crisis we recognized few Bhutanese Tour Operators with generous and compassion souls because COVID-19 will...

Apr 03, 2020 14:33

Daughter Of U.S Covid-19 Patient Thanked Bhutan For Its Great...

The 76 year old American tourist left Bhutan for the US on March 13 for further medical treatment.

Mar 16, 2020 23:28

Latest

News

Employment opportunities amid crisis - Tour guides opts farming

A tour guide could earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 per month during the peak tourist season in Bhutan. The income made was sufficient to support...

May 19, 2020 19:53

Covid-19 response must address gender-based violence, other rights of women and girls

“The social and economic stress that Covid-19 pandemic brings upon households places women and girls in vulnerable positions, burdening them...

May 12, 2020 16:46

Features

Story of Final Year College Student Who Joined college after reopening of eduction institution amid outbreak of COVID 19

Sonam Dorji a final year student shares this thought on his first day of college amid pandemic.

Jul 04, 2020 14:03

Significant pilgrimage sites of Guru Rinpochoe in Bhutan

Discover sacred pilgrim sites of Guru Rinpochoe in Bhutan and the reasons why every buddhist must travel to these most venerated places of...

Jul 01, 2020 11:28

Sports

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

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

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

Celebrating Bhutan’s Entrepreneurs: Namkhar Gyaltshen Of Transcend Artisan

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 06, 2020 11:48

Travel

Trailing Dodeydra Monastery through the scenic route from Northern Part of Thimphu

Did You Know The holy spring water near the monastery is supposed to aid those whose hearing is impaired.

Jul 13, 2020 22:57

Reasons why one should visit Druk Wangditse Lhakhang

The temple is reconstructed to its glory and is dedicated to his majesty the king of Bhutan.

Jul 08, 2020 14:43

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!