The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and Mountain Hazelnut Venture Limited (MHVL) have signed an Addendum as a clarification to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on July 16 for plantation of hazelnuts in Bhutan. Originally, the MoU was signed with the FDI company on 29 May 2009 that paved a way for MHVL to start plantation.
The Addendum was signed to revise the price and agree on the land use protocol. Additionally, protocols for carbon credit sharing and the use of fertilisers and chemicals (in extreme cases) in line with the organic vision were formulated.
The floor price has been revised to 44.2 cents per Kg (US$) from the previous price of 30 cents per Kg (US$). The basis for revision of the price is the revised cost of production for hazelnut worked out by the Department of Agriculture. Farmers are now expected to get a 45% margin on the cost of production.
A land use protocol has been formulated and included as part of the Addendum which will guide plantation of hazelnuts. Farmers will now reap exclusive financial gains from benefits arising in relation to carbon sequestration from hazelnut plantation. A suitable modality has been devised for the use of chemicals and fertilisers in hazelnut plantation in line with the organic vision.
As of 2017, hazelnut has been planted in 14,460 acres in 18 Dzongkhags covering 139 gewogs. The production in 2017 was 13.5 MT. More than 6 million hazelnut trees have been planted from the target of 10 million trees. On an average, about 800 Bhutanese employees are on MHVL payroll.
Submitted by Department of Agriculture
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