Lekey Zangmo  

The European Union provided Euro 15 million to Bhutan for agricultural development in Thimphu on September 20.

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering and the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bhutan and India, Ugo Astuto launched the programme to promote inclusive, sustainable and resilient agricultural food systems in the presence of Minister of Agriculture and Forests Yeshey Penjor, and Members of the EU Parliament.

The fund is expected to help Bhutan in the promotion of sustainable food systems which are inclusive and resilient to the changes brought by climate change.

This project will also support Bhutan to diversify the Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) sectors through green economic opportunities. This will help ensure food and nutritional security and help manage natural resources sustainably.

Lyonpo Namgay Tshering said, “We are grateful for the long-term friendship and support from the EU. We are appreciative of the Multi-Indicative Programme 2021 to 2027 of which one of the priority areas is the RNR sector which is launched today.”

Lyonpo said this project would enable Bhutanese agriculture system to become more resilient to calamities and help the youths and help the post-Covid-19 economy.

Ambassador Ugo Astuto said, “I’m pleased to launch this new budget support program for Bhutan. The pandemic has shown us the urgency to accelerate the transition to sustainable food systems which are resilient to climate change.” He added that this program will prepare Bhutan for future emerging issues.

According to Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor, this project is the first stage of the support provided and there is more support to look forward to.

The ministry will prioritise the quality production processes and improve the quality of food resources and market facilities.

The EU has been supporting the RNR sector of Bhutan since 1984. The support has evolved from water supply projects to the current budget support programme.

The EU has been collaborating with Bhutan through the Global Climate Change Adaptation flagship initiative and during the last programming period of 2014 to 2020.

The EU has reaffirmed its commitment of EUR 31 million for the first phase of its Multi-Annual Indicative Programme of 2021-2027 for Bhutan.