Chhimi Dema

The global food crisis caused by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and exacerbated by the pandemic has brought food security status of nations into sharp focus.

Recognising human-wildlife conflict (HWC) as a threat to the country’s food security status, the government in this fiscal year allocated Nu 0.5 billion to construct chain-linked fencing.

Farmers lose livestock and crops to wildlife every year. A study found that sixty-nine percent of the 91 households in 10 villages within the biological corridor lost 251 animals to predators between 2016 and 2018.

Tigers were responsible for 58.9 percent (148 kills) of the livestock deaths, followed by snow leopards with 32 kills.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, during the 47th Meet the Press, said that chain-linked fencing is expected to help farmers address HWC for at least a decade.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation defines food security as access for all people at all times to enough food for a healthy and active life.

Prime Minister said that the government is giving renewed focus and direction on local food production to ensure food security.

The country imported food commodities worth Nu 11.02 billion and exported Nu 3.14B in 2021.

Around 118 million people in the world were facing hunger in 2020, according to the United Nations.

“Compared with 2019, about 46 million more people in Africa, 57 million more in Asia, and 14 million more in Latin America and the Caribbean were affected by hunger in 2020,” the report stated.

Around 660 million people may still face hunger in 2030, in part due to the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on global food security.

Prime Minister said that the country’s social and environmental factors such as rural-urban migration causing labour shortage in the fields and increasing fallow land and goongtongs make it challenging to increase local food production.

He said that the government would work towards solving these issues to strengthen food security.

To address the shortage of fertilisers in the country, the government is exploring ways to source fertilisers in the country, Prime Minister said.

Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests is testing nano fertilisers and focusing on making organic fertilisers to meet demands from the farmers.

There are 12 organic fertiliser producers in the country today producing compost, vermicompost, and bio-slurry compost according to the National Soil Services Centre records.