The Royal Civil service Commission (RCSC) recommended the dissolution of the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) keeping with the spirit of upholding the RCSC’s vision of small, compact and efficient civil service.
In a clarification the Commission issued, it stated that the 2019 organisational development exercise (ODE) found out that there were duplications of the department’s role with other technical departments, which has led to confusion in marketing agricultural products.
“It has created gaps in cooperation, communication and collaboration among stakeholders within and outside the agriculture ministry,” said an official from the commission.
The commission’s ODE which reviews and recommends changes in agencies according to its mandates has since 2015 recommended the dissolution of DAMC. However, it was later reconsidered and retained with the ministry’s proposal ‘RNR Marketing Policy’.
The recent (2019) ODE found loopholes in supervision and guidance from superiors in the ministry and other agencies in marketing such as Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited, Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation limited, Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, private exporters and the trade department’s role in export facilitation.
However, according to commission officials, the move to dissolve the department will not deprive the agriculture sector of the marketing services. “The marketing mandates are embedded into the respective departments like livestock, agriculture and forest by policy directive for efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability,” stated the clarification.
While the policy and planning division at the ministry will handle critical policy interventions, the economic development officer at the local government’s level are expected to share marketing responsibilities with the Renewable Natural Resources sector of the dzongkhags.
Refuting a Kuensel earlier editorial on the issue of investment in agriculture, RCSC stated that agriculture sector received one of the highest budgets among the sectors. The agriculture sector’s total capital budget in the 12th Plan is Nu 13.55 billion. The official said that the agriculture sector has the third highest staff numbers at 3,460—18 doctorates, 230 master degree and 669 Bachelor degree holders.
“The RCSC in all its endeavors, such as the ODE as well as other interventions, is continuously striving to eliminate duplication, wastage, and redundancy to achieve efficiency, transparency and accountability in public service delivery,” the official said.
DAMC is mandated to transform the RNR sector from subsistence to market-oriented farming to bring improvements in the rural economy while supporting economic and social empowerment through the development of farmers’ groups and cooperatives.