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  • Press Release on Agriculture Transformation tour to Ten Dzongkhags

    The Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF) accompanied by officials from  Policy and Planning Division (PPD), Regional Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives (RAMCO), Regional Research Centers and Projects completed a visit to ten Dzongkhag between 4th to 20th October 2019. The Dzongkhags covered were Dagana, Tsirang, Sarpang, Zhemgang in the central south region and the six eastern Dzongkhags. In between the 10 Dzongkhags visit, the Minister also attended World Food Day celebration at Sakteng School on 16th October 2019.

    The main purpose of the visit to the Dzongkhags was to sensitize on government’s initiative on Agriculture Transformation from subsistence farming to commercial farming. While market assurance with post harvest management and value chain process is found crucial to encourage mass scale production by the famers, backed up by Farm Mechanization Corporation Limited (FMCL) and Bhutan Livestock Corporation Limited (BLDCL), internalizing the market prior to export, has as well, been important and urgent. The Ministry, in this line, initiated two supplementing programmes of School and Hospital Feeding Program (SHFP) and a Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) Enterprise Development opportunities. This Agricultural Transformation beginning with SHFP and RNR-ED is expected to acquire food self sufficiency and nutrition security in a focused approach, open up opportunities of youth employment and generate revenue through high-end exports.

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  • Bhutanese Farmer wins the Agriculturalist Award 2019

    A Bhutanese Dairy Farmer, Ms. Chimmi Dema, an aspiring dairy farmer from Gogona, Wangduephodrang received a prestigious FAO’s “Model Agriculturalists” award on 18th October 2019 at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand.The Assistant Director General of FAO RAP presented the FAO’s annual Asia-Pacific award to Ms. Chimmi Dema and four other Asian and Pacific farmers for their outstanding achievements in agriculture and food production.

    Ms. Chimi Dema is a progressive dairy farmer in Gogona under Gangtey gewog in Wangdue Phodrang. She is an active member and also serves as the dairy technician at the Milk Processing Unit (MPU) of Gogona Gonor Yargay Chethuen Detshen. Finding dairy enterprise as a promising enterprise for cash income generation, she and her husband planned to strengthen their dairy business last year (2018). They applied for a Priority Sector Lending (PSL) loan to build and expand their dairy farming business. With the loan from the PSL, they build an improved dairy shed and bought 20 Holstein Friesian dairy cows. With the addition of these dairy cows, the milk supply to the MPU has increased and this has helped the Gogona Gonor Yargay Chethuen Detshen to supply more dairy products to consumers in Wangduephodrang and in Thimphu.

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  • Ministry launched three value chain studied books and HR system

    18 October, Thimphu: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests launched the value chain studied books on potato, apple and honey and the Human Resource Information System (HRIS), both funded by EU-TCP.

    According to a spokesperson, the value chain study for apple was carried out to improve the quantity and quality of apple production and enhance the apple trade. The study highlights the current issues, challenges, recommendations and suggest ways to capitalise the opportunities.

    Apple production in Bhutan is concentrated mostly in western Dzongkhags such as Paro, Thimphu and Haa. Despite being one of the major sources of cash income, apple industry has been facing many challenges due to shrinking land areas for apple, urbanisation, competition and poor quality. As a result, the production and export quantity was seen decreasing from 7,666 MT in 2012 to 6,587 MT in 2016  and 4,314.23 MT in 2013 to 3,789.90 MT in 2016 respectively.

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  • Training for effective participation in Codex Work held

    15-16 October, Paro: A two-day training for National Codex Committee (NCC) members and the officials of National Codex Contact Point (NCCP) of Bhutan was held from 15-16 August 2019 at Tashi Namgay Resort, Paro. The training was organised by the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, with the main objective to enhance participation of Bhutan to the work of Codex through training of officials of Codex (Bhutan) including, NCC members on the functioning and management of Codex work.
    The training methodology comprised of presentations, plenary discussions, and group works on Codex Alimentarius Commission; Codex Procedural Manual; International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) and International Health Regulations; stepwise Codex process for elaboration of standards, Codex work on methods of analysis and sampling, GMO, linkage between International Plant Protection Convention and Codex; and Codex web tools. Further, a pre-test questionnaire was administered to the participants before the commencement of the training to determine background knowledge on Codex activities. Post-test questionnaire was provided at the end of the two-days training to determine knowledge uptake. A comparative analysis of the result of the pre and post-training evaluation revealed significant improvement in the participants’ knowledge and understanding on the subject matters.
    The participants had the opportunity to engage in dialogue about the main elements of a national food control system and identify gaps and challenges for Bhutan’s national food control system. During the welcome remarks, Dr. Chador Wangdi, Offtg. Director General of BAFRA highlighted on the importance of participation in Codex work to raise awareness on the subjects of national interest so that, international Codex standards become suitable and applicable to Bhutan. He also mentioned that, since Codex standards are the bench mark standard for international food trade, it is very important that Bhutan takes preparatory steps to actively engage in the international standard setting process.
    The training is a part of activities of the Codex Trust Fund (CTF) joint project for Bhutan, India and Nepal with the goal to strengthen the function of National Codex Structures through effective engagement of all stakeholders in Codex activities and standard setting process, improved scientific and technical capacity of national experts to contribute to the scientific basis of Codex and promotion of sub-regional cooperation. It is also a part of follow-up activity to the training for Codex (Bhutan) officials on the functioning and management of Codex work at the Codex Contact Point office in India held from 27 to 31 August 2019 in New Delhi, India.

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