Dechen Dolkar 

The inaugural session of Bhutan Agrifood Trade and Investment Forum (BATIF) 2024 in Thimphu will showcase the immense potential within Bhutan’s agri-food sector, highlighting high-value products cultivated in its unique geographical environment.

The event, scheduled from May 15 to 19, provide a platform for policymakers, entrepreneurs,and businesses to present investment opportunities to a wide audience, including, investors from foreign countries, multilateral development banks, and the private sector.

According to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, with strategic investments across priority value chains, Bhutan aims to boost its national economic development. 

“The forum aims to garner support from donors, private investors, and stakeholders, while also focusing on establishing linkages and streamlining logistical operations to create efficient supply chains connecting growers, processors, traders, and consumers,” the official said.

The event aims to bring together over 200 participants, including government officials, business leaders (with 55 international participants), development partners, civil society representatives, experts, youth representatives, and social entrepreneurs- all focused on agri-food systems.

The official said that the objectives of BATIF 2024 include creating business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) linkages, seeking investments and partnerships to enhance capacities and scaling of Bhutanese agri-food ventures, and facilitating engagement with policymakers, investors, and development partners to operationalise national agricultural strategies and investment plans.

Moreover, the upcoming 13th Plan in Bhutan has prioritised the agriculture sector, aiming to achieve ambitious targets for economic growth through strategic investments. 

By 2029, the nation aims to enhance productivity, broaden market access, and foster an ecosystem conducive to innovation and technological advancement in the agriculture sector. This plan targets a GDP contribution of close to USD 600 million.

Bhutan also seeks to increase export value from USD 36 million to USD 73 million by 2029, while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions by 710kt through the adoption of climate-smart and environmentally friendly technologies.

The BATIF 2024 presents a crucial opportunity for Bhutan to showcase its agrifood potential and attract investment towards sustainable economic growth, aligned with its vision for the future.

The event is spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the European Union, various government agencies, and the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.