The way forward, it was agreed at the AGM, was through cooperation with the agencies concerned

BCCI: With the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) initiating a one-district-three-products (ODTP) programme, there is a perception that the chamber is encroaching into the domain of some government agencies.

This, the chamber revealed, during the second day of its annual general meeting on Friday, with specific reference to its ODTP initiative.

This, the deputy secretary general, Chandra B Chettri, said, needed to be addressed through confidence and partnership. “The role of the BCCI, by and large, is limited to lobbying and programme facilitation,” he said.

The ODTP, officials from the chamber said, was a vehicle to achieve green revolution, based on a similar initiative of the agriculture ministry, the one-gewog-three product programme.

The deputy secretary general said similar programmes were initiated in other large countries like Japan and were successfully implemented.  For Bhutan, he said, coordination was much easier with only 20 districts.

However, policy anomalies and conflicts, lengthy processes involved in obtaining clearances, access to limited agriculture finance, access to land and labour and immigration issues are discouraging the initiative.

To address this, the chamber has plans to establish a secretariat dedicated to facilitate, coordinate and oversee the activities.

The chamber will also conduct market studies to supply off-season (summer) vegetables to India and Bangladesh, and facilitate enforcing contracts with the producers.

Since the inception of the programme early last year, three projects for ODTP were identified.  Four kiwifruit demonstration farms have been established in Wangkha and Chasilakha to make Chukha dzongkhag specialise in kiwi production.

The other two projects – cultivation of medicinal herbs in Bumthang and cold water fishery (trout) farming in Haa – are in their final stages.

A proposal for warm-water aquaculture is under consultation and, this year, the chamber expects to establish a carp fish culture in Sergithang, Tsirang.

The ODTP initiative, the deputy secretary general said, was not an endeavour that the BCCI intended to deliver in isolation, and that it would be inclusive and executed through roping in of expertise and resources.

The chamber intends to align the ODTP programme with the government policy.

Meanwhile, the ODTP was aimed to capitalise and optimise on the potential each district has to offer, with specialisation and commercialisation.

Products were determined based on the economic resource mapping the chamber conducted last year.

By Tshering Dorji