According to Bhutan Poverty Analysis Report (PAR) 2017, poverty incidence in the agriculture sector has decreased from18.5 percent in 2012 to 9.6 percent this year.

About 69 percent of the country’s poverty rate was contributed by household whose heads are working in the sector.

Bhutan’s poverty rate is 8.2 percent.

The PAR 2012 showed that about 44 percent of the poverty rate was contributed by the households whose heads were in the agriculture sector.

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji said that those identified as poor in the agriculture sector are mostly in the remote pockets of the country.

Farmers in the remote areas lack market, the minister said. “With land reform and the road connectivity, poverty will reduce.”

According to PAR 2017, 11.9 percent of the rural population is poor against 0.78 percent in the urban areas. “About 97 percent of poor persons throughout the country reside in rural areas.”

Bhutan witnessed increase in land ownership in rural and urban areas of the country. The proportion of households owning land in rural areas is 87.5 percent, which is more than two times that of the urban areas.

About 95 percent of the poor households own land against 69.6 percent of non-poor.

The report states that about 21 percent of poverty rate is contributed by those who are economically inactive.

Chief Statistical Officer with NSB, Cheku Dorji, said that economically inactive population comprised of those who were neither employed nor unemployed during the reference period. “For example, students and sick people.”

The unemployed contributed the least to the poverty rate with 0.1 percent.

“Among the extremely poor, practically everyone resides in rural areas. Consequently, efforts toward poverty reduction ought to continue with a strong focus on rural development,” says the report.

Cheku Dorji said that poverty in the country was measured according to the consumption of a household. “We asked them about the things they ate and buy. Then we total all the spending and divide the amount among the members of the household.”

If an individual consumes less than Nu 2,195.95 per month, he is considered poor.

Phurpa Lhamo