Sanam Lyonpo (Agriculture Minister) Yeshey Penjor yesterday said that the ministry had stocked up enough food resources to ensure the country’s food security at all times.

As the government announced lockdown on June 12, that ended yesterday, Thimphu residents rushed to buy essential items.

Lyonpo said that the ministry along with agencies such as Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL), Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited (BLDCL) and the Farm Machinery Corporation Limited was prepared to ensure food security under all circumstances.

According to record with the FCBL, as of last week, the country had a rice stock of 6,122.93 metric tonnes (MT), 581.33MT of refined oil, 186.94MT of salt, and 206.04 MT of pulses.

Thimphu ha stocked up 899.58MT of rice, 14.45MT of salt, and 82.34MT of refined oil.

Other stocked essential items include butter, cheese, milk powder, sugar, and flour, among others.

National Food Security Reserve Action Plan mandates FCBL to primarily focus on rice, cooking oil, and pulses during times of disaster like the current pandemic.

BLDCL on June 3 had beef stock of 2.18MT, 0.05MT butter, 0.25MT cheese, 35.22MT chicken, and 0.42MT trout.

On June 13, the vegetable and fruit stock with 17 wholesalers at the Centenary Farmers’ Market was 95,740 kgs.

At 57,690kg, potato was the highest stocked vegetable, followed by onion at 9,270kg, and tomato at 6,800 kg.

Food and Nutrition Security Policy 2014 requires availability of safe and adequate varieties of food to meet food requirements of the population at all times.

In times of situation like the Covid-19, the government should maintain at least three months of food reserves of essential food items as National Food Security Reserve at strategic locations with adequate food safety measures.

Last month, Lyonpo said that the country had stocked up essential items to last about three months.

By Choki Wangmo 

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk