23 May, 2017, Paro: A two-day workshop on agricultural marketing on the theme – “Towards an Efficient Agricultural Marketing Service” was held at Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro on May 20 and May 21, 2017.
Funded by the EU-TCP and organised by the Department of Agricultural Marketing & Co-operatives (DAMC), there were over twenty eight participants, representing various agencies, including State Owned Enterprises (SOE) such as Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB), Farm Machinery Corporation (FMC), Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation (BLDC) and Green Bhutan Corporation (GBC). The private sector was represented by the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) and the Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA).
The Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture & Forests, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji under whose directive, this workshop was organised, delivered the keynote address and graced a session of the workshop.
Despite substantial investment by the government, agriculture sector has still not realised its full potential. Because of small farm sizes, low utilisation of modern farming technologies, demanding terrain and high labour costs, making farming a profitable enterprise is challenging.
That combined with small domestic consumer base, erratic and uncertain markets, competition from imports, lack of a developed market information system and high transportation costs affects farming and agri-business productivity.
Despite that, strengths and opportunities abound. The fact that we have been a farming community since time immemorial, rich soils and abundance of water, rich biodiversity and a range of different agro-climatic zones, where various types of farming can be practiced; and proximity to some of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets gives Bhutanese a substantial comparative edge.
The purpose of this workshop was to bring stakeholders together to address marketing problems faced by our producers. There are many government and non-government actors trying to help boost the agriculture industry. Increasingly SOEs are playing a proactive role partnering with Bhutanese producers, traders and exporters to augment productivity and exploit new economic opportunities in the agriculture, livestock and forestry sector.
The workshop saw presentations, group work and discussions on topics such as how to improve the minimum support price and other government interventions, whether to pursue market-demand based production only or take a mixed-mode approach, how to achieve higher utilisation of agro-processing plants and market infrastructure through collaboration and how the government can meet the expectation of the private sector more effectively.
The workshop came out with some major recommendations, some of which needs to be undertaken on an urgent basis. The resolutions will be submitted to the RNR-GNH Committee for endorsement to translate them into actions. There was a unanimous agreement amongst the participants that frequent interactions between the various stakeholders would improve the quality and efficiency of the agriculture marketing services.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” — Andrew Carnegie
– Press Release, DAMC
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