YK Poudel

The agriculture sector in the country, which continues to remain the largest employer and one of the largest contributors to the GDP, is set to see growth and increased productivity through innovation, use of ICT, policy research, and supporting infrastructure, according to Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Younten Phuntsho. 

By harnessing advancing ICT, and sustainable farming practices and supporting farmers, to ensure a resilient and thriving agricultural community, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL) plans to strike a balance between tradition and innovation to create a robust and resilient agricultural sector.

The 42-year-old minister, well-known for being the only winning party candidate and minister from eastern Bhutan says that the appointment was a recognition of an opportunity to contribute towards the realisation of His Majesty’s vision and for the agricultural sector in particular. “I am deeply humbled and excited to serve in this capacity,” he said.

“My focus will be to address the challenges faced by our farmers and increase agricultural productivity in line with the party’s manifesto and the sector’s 13th Five-Year Plan.”

The agriculture and livestock sector was facing challenges from climate change, resource constraints, and evolving market dynamics so the approach would be to undertake a comprehensive review of existing policies, collaborate with experts and stakeholders, and implement targeted strategies to revitalize and sustain the sector.

To address the challenges faced by the farmers as well as to increase agricultural productivity, the policies and programs that support farmers, such as providing access to credit, improving irrigation systems, and promoting the use of modern farming techniques would also be prioritised. 

The agricultural sector will continue to work towards ensuring food security, promoting sustainable agriculture practices, and increasing the availability of nutritious food. 

“Priority will also be on the livestock sector, which has the potential to contribute significantly to the country’s economy,” the minister said.

“Bhutan will witness agriculture as a vibrant and sustainable sector that contributes to the well-being of citizens and the country’s economic growth,” Lyonpo said.

“Likewise, I am committed to addressing the concerns of our farmers, ensuring access to markets, and promoting policies that support the well-being of those engaged in agriculture,” he said.

Lyonpo Younten Phuntsho holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management, has worked in civil service until 2020, and worked as the Programme Coordinator at WWF Bhutan before joining politics.