YK Poudel  

To support 2,000 smallholder farmers to adopt technology-enabled farming practices, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and UNDP signed a USD 1.54 million project agreement yesterday.

The project will augment Bhutan’s effort to transform its agri-food system for resilience in the face of climate change.

The year-long project titled, “Promoting Technologically Enabled Agriculture for the Vulnerable Farming Population in Bhutan”, is expected to foster green agri-business, post-harvest technologies, and resilient marketing facilities.

Farmers from eight dzongkhags including women, youth, and entrepreneurs will be supported through this project.

The project is in line with the government’s priority to achieve food self-sufficiency and economic self-reliance.

Department of Macro Fiscal and Development Finance Director, Loday Tsheten highlighted that the project will reinforce adaptive response mechanisms in the agriculture sector to build the resilience of farmers and entrepreneurs alike.

He said: “The project must be transformative and employment generating besides driving impacts through business models to test innovation and technologies in agriculture system.”

Resident Representative, UNDP, Mohammad Younus said that the global climate crisis is impacting the food system and threatening human security, as never seen before. “We have entered a new era of poly-crisis and no country is immune to this.”

“This new partnership aims to support Bhutan’s farming system through innovative and nature-based solutions, digitalization and a resilient supply chain system amongst others. It will help Bhutan advance national food security and green socio-economic recovery goals,” he said.

Embassy of Japan, First Secretary, Hiroyuki Yamashita who joined the signing ceremony virtually said that the project is significant and directly contributes towards translating the plans and ambitions to promote low-carbon development in the agri-food sector.

He said: “This project is yet another testament to the close and long-standing friendship between the people of Bhutan and Japan. It reflects the shared commitment of our two countries towards achieving sustainable development.”

With the promotion of low-carbon farming practices, increasing bio-mass and enhanced storage and distribution system – the project aims to help reduce carbon emissions from the agriculture and livestock sector.

The project worth USD 1.54 million is a project supported by the Government of Japan and UNDP – that will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.