Albeit gradually, agriculture is becoming popular with young educated Bhutanese. What this means is that the sector that employs a large section of population and has a great potential to boost the country’s economy is at long last finding its rightful place in our development schemes.

An increasing number of our young people are today looking at agriculture sector as the most promising employer. At a time when the nation is grapping with the issue of rising youth unemployment, this could be viewed as one of most important developments. All these panned out after what the commercial banks did what they ought to have done a long time ago. Priority sector lending that the Royal Monetary Authority initiated recently will have a significant impact on the development of the sector which is at the heart of the national dream of achieving food self-sufficiency. Making loans accessible to young entrepreneurs and farmers without requirement of collateral and guarantor is already taking an encouraging turn.

Early this week, Kuensel carried a story of a group of young entrepreneurs in Dophuchen who have taken up farming. They grow fruits and vegetables and help farmers sell their produce at the recently-opened RNR sale counter. They are already dreaming big. Next year, they intend to lease government land and carry out large-scale commercial farming and supply vegetables and dairy products to at least two schools in Samtse.

At a time when Bhutan is poised to graduate from the group of least developed countries, investing in agriculture has become all the more important. Time has come for the nation to harness the sector’s full potential. That means addressing the challenges that our farmers confront today like lack of irrigation water and increasing crop attack by wild animals. Identifying and creating market for the farmers is equally important without which they might not be encouraged to grow farm products in large scale.

All these succeeding, a lot of the challenges that the nation is faced with today could be solved. Emptying households in the rural pockets of the country has been one of the major results of agriculture becoming less sustainable. Rising rural to urban migration has been the principal contributor of growing youth unemployment. Investment in the sector has the potential to turn around large-scale movement of people from rural to urban areas.

Agriculture is calling.