Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority
The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) was established on August 5, 2000. The agency was institutionalized as a perpetual, public-sector instrument to promote the quality and safety of goods and products related to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. It also coordinates and liaises with other national, regional and international agencies that are related to regulation of quality and safety of agricultural products including foods.
The BAFRA Head Office is located near the Tashichhodzong and within the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests Office complex.
The Executive Director is the administrative head of the BAFRA. The agency has two divisions -Quality Control and Quarantine Division (QCQD) and Analytical and Certification Division (ACD). Apart from the head office, BAFRA has offices at the entry points, regions, Dzongkhags and major towns of the country including the National Quality Control Laboratory Complex at Yusipang, Thimphu.
Management Board for BAFRA
The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority is governed by a Management Board. The Management Board represents the Royal Governmentâ€™s sincere intention to promote the quality and safety of goods and products related to the Ministry and its clients. Therefore, the composition of the Board reflects the interests of stakeholders and key actors. The Management Board has been constituted with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (Department of Forests and Park Services, Department of Agriculture, Department of Livestock, Council for RNR Research of Bhutan, Policy and Planning Division), Ministry of Economic Affairs (Department of Trade), Ministry of Health (Department of Public Health), Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue and Customs) and Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (representing the private sector). The Honorable Minister for Agriculture and Forests is the Chair of the Board and the Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Forests as Vice Chair and the Executive Director, BAFRA, MoAF as the Member Secretary.
Permits and Certificates
BAFRA carries out inspection and certification of agricultural goods and products including foods in order to facilitate trade and increase market access. For any import or export of agricultural goods and foods, necessary permit has to be obtained from BAFRA head office prior to importation or exportation. Similarly, for the movement of plants, animals and their products within the country, an in-country movement permit must be obtained from the concerned Regulatory and Quarantine Inspector posted at the various entry points, regions, Dzongkhags and major towns.
National Quality Control Laboratory Complex, Yusipang, Thimphu
The National Quality Control Laboratory Complex is located at Yusipang about 15 Km from Thimphu city. It has a total area of 18.5 acres and consists of the Food Laboratory, Seed Laboratory, Veterinary Laboratory including Animal Feed Testing Laboratory. It has been established to carry out mandatory analytical and diagnostic tests as per the requirements of the relevant RNR acts and their secondary and tertiary legislations. The laboratory is equipped with all required equipment and facilities to carry out routine analytical and diagnostic tests.
The following are the major official entry and exit points for import and export inspection and certification that are manned by Regulatory and Quarantine Inspectors:
Paro International Airport
BAFRA shall strive to contribute towards the national goal of food self sufficiency by safeguarding the farming system of the country from exotic pests and diseases and ensuring quality farming inputs through effective enforcement of standards and regulations. It shall facilitate the development of agro-based industries and enhance Bhutanâ€™s ability to compete in the global market, thereby improving the livelihood of the Bhutanese people. It shall endeavor to assure that foods are of good quality and safe for consumption.
- Implement RNR related legal instruments such as the Plant Quarantine Act, Seed Act, Pesticide Act, Livestock Act, Food Act, National Biosafety Framework, Forest and Nature Conservation Act, Biodiversity Act and their secondary and tertiary legislations.
- Implement sanitary and phytosanitary measures effectively to protect the health and life of humans, plants and animals including the environment from risks of entry, establishment and spread of exotic pests and diseases.
- Function as the National Food Quality and Safety Control agency to ensure foods are of good quality and safe for human consumption.
- Regulate and promote the quality of agriculture inputs (seeds, agro-chemicals, livestock, veterinary biological, etc) and products including foods to facilitate trade and increase market access in the global market,
- Function as the National Competent Authority to implement the National Biosafety Framework of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2006 as per the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to ensure safe transfer, handling and use of Living modified Organisms (LMOs), Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their products.
- Function as the Focal Points for International Organizations viz., IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), CAC (Codex Alimentarius Commission), the National Enquiry Point for WTO-SPS Agreement (World Trade Organization-Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement) and as the competent authority for Biosecurity of Bhutan.
- Conduct relevant research aimed at improving regulatory measures related to food safety and protection of health and life of plants and animals.
- Quality Control and Quarantine Division (QCQD)
- Analytical and Certification Division (ACD)