Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Programme Launched

DSCN0533Dasho Tenzin Dhendup, Hon’ble Secretary of the MoAF graced the official launch of the Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Programme (CARLEP) on 7th March, 2016 at Wangchuk Hotel in Mongar. The launch was attended by Dasho Dzongdas of Pemagatshel and Trashiyangtse, Dasho Dzongrab, Mongar; officials from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and officials of six programme Dzongkhags. Representatives from the FCBL, GNH Commission, Ministry of Finance, Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative and technical departments of the Ministry were also present at the launch.

CARLEP is a follow up programme to the current Market Access and Growth Intensification Project (MAGIP). It will build on the lessons and experiences from past IFAD funded projects and support the priorities of the government towards agricultural commercialization while emphasizing on the resilience to climate change. The goal of the programme is to sustainably increase smallholder producers’ incomes and reduce poverty through commercialization of production by programme households.

With a total financing of USD 14.3million from the IFAD and the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP), CARLEP will be implemented in the six Dzongkhags of Lhuentse, Mongar, Pemagatshel, Samdrup Jongkhar, Trashigang and Tashiyangtse from 2016-2022 with scaling up of the vegetable value chain in other Dzongkhags namely Tsirang, Sarpang, Zhemgang and Chukha post Mid Term Review of the programme.

In his inaugural address, Dasho acknowledged the continued assistance from IFAD for agricultural development for the last 36 years and mentioned that CARLEP will support the priorities of the government towards agricultural commercialization while emphasizing on the resilience to climate change. He underscored the importance of CARLEP in making a paradigm shift in development interventions from self-sufficiency to commercial farming through focused commodity approach and engagement of the FCBL for physical marketing of RNR produces. On behalf of IFAD, Ms. Lakshmi Moola, Country Programme Manager for Bhutan mentioned that CARLEP was the largest financing till date from IFAD and was designed to bring more visible impacts through specific focus on the Vegetable and Dairy Value Chains. ASAP financing which is the first for Bhutan has been allocated to completely and holistically climate-proof both, production and post-production activities.

Post launch, the participants visited the Programme Management Office at Wengkhar and the Research Development Centre, Wengkhar. Participants will also be attending the technical start-up workshop of the programme scheduled from March 7-11, 2016. Till date, IFAD has supported seven programmes and projects with a total investment of USD 52.9million.

Reported by: Tashi Yangzom, Planning Officer, PPD from Mongar

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