Chhimi Dema 

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) share of the Renewable Natural Resource (RNR) sector increased in the 12th Plan.

The sector’s GDP share was 15.03 percent in 2017, 2018 was 15.99 percent, 15.82 percent in 2019.

This is according to National Accounts Report 2020.

Officials said that with the additional investment in the sector in the pandemic period, the GDP share was likely to increase.

The total budget allocation for the agriculture ministry has increased since 2005; it’s GDP share, however, has been decreasing.

In 2019, the investment in the RNR sector was Nu 2.8 Billion (B); in 2018 Nu 2.6B; and in 2017 Nu 2.3B.

The agriculture ministry’s chief planning officer, Karma Tshering, said that the investment measured in absolute terms is increasing while the percentage share of the GDP is decreasing. In the meanwhile, the budget allocated for other sectors is also increasing.

“Although there is an increase in investment, it is not sufficient to conduct major activities in the sector,” he said.

According to the 12th Plan Mid-Term Review Report, the budget outlay for the sector is Nu 5.1B, an increase of Nu 2.1B from the initial budget outlay of Nu 3B.

“The upward revision of the plan outlay is attributed to agriculture ECP [Economic Contingency Plan], big-ticket initiatives, and highland development programmes to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” stated the review report.

Karma Tshering said that there is an increase in investment during the pandemic to ensure food security and sufficiency in the country.

“Our major goal is food self-sufficiency and to meet that, we have to reconsider government policies and investment support,” he said.

Karma Tshering said that some sectors should now focus on reprioritising their investment. “Even within the ministry, it is time that we relooked and reprioritised the ministry’s activities. The departments in the ministry have to go beyond the normal investment mode.”

For example, if the focus is on production, then finding products that would give higher returns and nutritional value is equally important.

“Policy directives with a focused investment has to come from the government”, Karma Tshering said, adding that with a focused investment, the limited fund can become effective and impactful.