The long road to food self sufficiency

Email

Although Bhutan has 70.46 percent forest coverage, arable land, is only 2.93 percent.

While Bhutan has envisioned achieving food self-sufficiency in the future, it is not likely that it would be achieved anytime soon given one major hurdle being land degradation.

Agriculture and forests minister Yeshey Dorji said Bhutan is no exception to the affects of land degradation because of the country’s mountainous and rugged terrains, limited area of good land and simultaneously the limited area under agriculture.

“Our farmers are forced to cultivate even up to 40 degree slopes, which by international standard is unsuitable for agriculture,” he said, adding that the rugged terrains and extreme climatic regimes further limited the scope of expanding the land area, especially for agriculture.

The minister said 58 percent of the country’s population still depended on agriculture for their livelihoods by subsisting on just about three percent of the total land area.

“Hence, this small proportion of agriculture land is increasingly put under tremendous pressure by different forms of land degradation,” he added.

Land degradation, meanwhile, has become a major concern both locally and globally. As per available report, an estimated 3.6 billion hectares worldwide are being affected by desertification and various other forms of land degradation.

 Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji also said that land degradation is prevalent all across the country and that it is one of the main factors impacting our crop productivity and national food and nutrition security.

“The need to combat land degradation in our country was felt as early as 1960s and various land management programs and projects have been implemented ever since,” Lyonpo said.

 However, he added that such initiatives by different sectors have been largely taking place in isolation without macro-level policy and or strategic perspective.

“It’s high time that we now address land degradation problems and issues through specific policies and proper institutional mechanisms, coordination of cross-sectoral issues, programs and activities for the effectively and efficiently management of land degradation in the country,” the minister suggested.

According to Dr. Tshering Dorji of National Soil Services Center (NSSC), Department of agriculture (DoA), MoAF, land degradation neutrality (LDN) under sustainable development goals (SDGs) as 15.3 minimum target was set to maintain and increase the amount of healthy and productive land resources.

“Addressing land degradation issues in a more holistic and systematic manner is very important in our country,” he said

However, he said that the relevance of LDN will largely depend on the status of current land resources, the severity, extent and impact of land degradation and the importance that people accord to land resources.

 “Climate change impacts and also the way people manage land resources will also make the variation,” Dr. Tshering Dorji explained, adding that the prevalence of land degradation is throughout the country, mostly in the eastern and southern parts due to unstable geo stabilities and the presence of thrust zones.

He mentioned that these two parts of the country have steep and unstable slopes, unsustainable management of land resources and lack of clear land use policies and guidelines, thus leading to climate change and loss of biodiversity.

 “About 206 square kilometers (O.5 percent) of land are degraded by landslides, gullies, ravines and glacial moraines,” he said, adding that the most extensive form of land degradation is surface erosion, which occurs mostly in agriculture farm and bare land.

Further, about three – 21 tons/ hectares of fertile topsoil are being lost annually from the agriculture land in the country and that Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) spends about USD 16M (million) a year in repairing the turbines and other underwater structures due to sediment loading, according to Dr. Tshering Dorji.

Meanwhile, the LDN implemented is reportedly needed in the country for the proper management of land resources, to combat land degradation, to streamline and mainstream land management activities into government policies and plants to mobilize financial resources.

 “All these could be enhanced by tapping LDN opportunities,” Dr. Tshering Dorji said, adding that LDN in the country would enhance rural livelihood, create employment opportunities, and establish proper coordination mechanism in combating land degradation, tap financial resources and also benefit in achieving multiple SDGs.

Meanwhile, Bhutan is amongst the 110 countries committed to set national land degradation neutrality targets. Works toward achieving LDN is expected to bring multiple benefits and also help in maintaining Bhutan as one of the carbon neutral countries and biodiversity hotspots in the world, while also enhancing rural livelihoods

Related Posts

General Election 2018: DNT To Head New Government In Bhutan

This is Bhutan’s third general election. The primary round of elections was held in September, where four parties...

Oct 19, 2018 18:51

Surgery To Separate Bhutanese Conjoined Twins Postponed

One of the twins' health has declined, revealed late night tests just before surgery on Friday.

Oct 12, 2018 16:27

Conjoined Twins From Bhutan To Be Separated On Friday

The marathon surgery may take six to 12 hours to complete. It involves getting the liver divided safely.

Oct 09, 2018 10:35

Australian Doctors Yet To Set Surgery Date For Bhutanese Twins...

Doctors are expected to get a better idea next week as to whether and when the surgery can proceed.

Oct 05, 2018 10:17

Conjoined Twins From Bhutan Arrive In Melbourne For 'Complex'...

The life-changing operation is expected to take up to eight hours.

Oct 02, 2018 09:54

Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society Launched To Foster Partnership...

Karma Tshering said that the intention was to bring all the diverse groups together to shape the future of tourism.

Sep 28, 2018 16:41

Latest

News

General Election 2018: DNT To Head New Government In Bhutan

This is Bhutan’s third general election. The primary round of elections was held in September, where four parties contested to make it to...

Oct 19, 2018 18:51

Surgery To Separate Bhutanese Conjoined Twins Postponed

One of the twins' health has declined, revealed late night tests just before surgery on Friday.

Oct 12, 2018 16:27

Features

Constructive Steps Taken To Mitigate Impact Of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) In Lunana, Bhutan

Lunana houses four major lakes-Thorthomi, Raphstreng, Luggye and Baytsho. So far, the Thorthomi and Raphstreng lakes are two of the 25...

Oct 20, 2018 08:58

Discover Drupthob Chagzampa – The Great Iron Bridge Builder Who Constructed At Least 60 Suspension Bridges In Bhutan And Tibet

Revered as Drupthob Chagzampa or the ‘Great Iron Bridge Builder’, he was an early and unequalled master of engineering skills.

Oct 14, 2018 16:33

Sports

Bhutan's 'Judo Girl' Fighting For Her Sport Back Home

By competing at the Youth Olympic Games Bueno Aires 2018, 16-year-old Yangchen Wangmo is blazing a trail for judo in the small archery-mad...

Oct 10, 2018 12:45

Two Para Athletes To Represent Bhutan At 3rd Asian Para Games (6-13 Oct) In Palembang, Indonesia

Organised by the Asian Paralympic Committee, the Asian Para Games will be held from 6 - 13 October in Jakarta - Palembang, Indonesia.

Oct 06, 2018 13:06

Business

Bhutan’s DHI Business Acceleration Programme Partners With the University of Texas’s IC2 Institute To Draw On Their Expertise

The press release states that DHI has hired the services of IC2 Institute under the University of Texas, USA as a partner for the programme.

Oct 16, 2018 17:08

Bank At Your Doorstep – Bank Of Bhutan Introduces ‘Banking On Wheels’

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) introduced ‘banking on wheels’ on 3 Oct 2018. It travels to various areas in Thimphu on a fixed weekly schedule.

Oct 09, 2018 17:36

Travel

A Run Unlike Any Other, Get Up Close With Charming Locals And The Magic Of Bhutan’s Highlands In The Laya Run

The third edition of the Laya Run will take place on October 23 from Panjothong to Laya.

Oct 18, 2018 17:14

Be Intrigued By The Kunzang Khorlo Graph Found On The Walls Of Monasteries In Bhutan

In Bhutan, the circular or full wheel style of artistic poetry is found on the walls of many temples and dzongs as one enters the premises.

Oct 13, 2018 18:01

Lifestyle

Condé Nast Traveller’s Readers’ Choice Award Voted COMO Uma Punakha In Bhutan As The 3rd Best Hotel In The World

The Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Award is the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry.

Oct 19, 2018 18:59

ShaMa Foundation Reaches Rural Bhutan, Helps To Provide Potable Water To Remote Villages

The program aims to provide access to safe drinking water in remote and challenging geographies in Bhutan.

Oct 15, 2018 20:39

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!