5 March 2019: The Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives organised a three-day workshop from February 27 to March 1, 2019 at Phuentsholing. Participation included almost all relevant government agencies, including the Departments of Trade, Agriculture, Livestock, Forests and Park Services, State Owned Corporations including Food Corporation of Bhutan Ltd., Bhutan Livestock development Corporation Ltd., Farm Machinery Corporation Ltd., Green Bhutan Corporation Ltd., associations as well as the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bhutan Exporters Association and other agencies such as Bhutan Agro-Industries Ltd., and The Queen’s Project Office.
With so many agencies both in the government and private sector involved in providing direct or indirect marketing services to farmers, traders, agri-businesses and exporters in the country, there is bound to be duplication of efforts and there is a need to collaborate to complement the efforts and avoid wastage of scare resources. The need for such consultation is also prominently highlighted in the RNR Marketing Policy, 2018 making this the main reason for the workshop.
Duplication of efforts was found to be very common across among agencies and the key output of the workshop was the unanimous decision to consult amongst these agencies and probably others during the preparation of the annual workplans. Because the governmental departments and corporations follow different planning and implementation periods, it was agreed that two annual consultations would be organised by the DAMC, at appropriate times.
To enhance business interests between the many SOEs and the farmers and farmer groups, the workshop reiterated the need to adopt contract farming more robustly. Better market information for all stakeholders and market research and exploration were highlighted as being crucial in the future and hence the need for greater efforts. The work started by the Trade Department of MoEA in developing the trade information portal was agreed to be taken up in earnest. Inadequate skills and technical capacity was expressed strongly as lacking by SOEs in undertaking marketing ventures and sought financial and technical support from the government departments.
The workshop was funded by the EU-TCP which is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
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