Meat worth Nu 4,573.8mn was imported last year compared to Nu 3,940.24mn in 2017, according to the Department of Agricultural and Marketing Cooperatives’ annual report, 2018-2019.
Meat recorded the highest increase of 16%, while rice import decreased by 5%. Import of dairy recorded 1% decline, edible oil and vegetables, including potato by 4%.
The report states that although a good volume of the local produce are traded in the domestic market, the national domestic trade figures are not recorded because the entire country itself is a market.
However, as per the records maintained by department of agriculture and livestock and Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL), the estimated volume auctioned and on-farm production and surplus available for sale accounts to 32,149.96 metric tons (MT).
Of 32,327 MT of potatoes auctioned, 24, 970MT were exported and 3,464 MT of vegetables, excluding potatoes auctioned 1,940MT were exported last year.
There were 1,127 MT of milk exported with minor export in butter, cheese and honey.
No meat produce were exported although 836MT of pork, 2,849 MT of Yak meat, 202MT of chevon, 1,499 of chicken, 181MT of fish and 5,954 MT of egg were sold.
While, the major exports are spices (cardamom being the main spice), vegetables including potato, non-wood forest products (NWFP), cordycep sinensis being the main commodity, and fruits (apples and mandarin being the two major fruits).
Apart from produce such as cordycep sinensis and mushroom, almost all these commodities were exported to India and Bangladesh.
Export of NWFP, betel nut and vegetable all grew at a healthy pace, while spices and fruit export fell compared to 2017.
The fall in the value of spice export was because of the marketing problem due to initiation of goods and services tax in India that led to export documentation issue at the border export points.
While, it was resolved in early 2019, the prices remained low and government embarked on buy-back of cardamom from the farmers through the FCBL.
Spices saw a decrease in the export of Nu 1,004mn in 2018 from Nu 1,401 in 2017, by 28%. Vegetables, including potato export saw 6% increase at Nu 546.82mn.
Fruits saw 29% decline in export, NWFP, including cordycep sinensis saw 15% increase and betel nut saw 13% increase in export.
According to the report, the study, ‘In support of the Strategic Agricultural Sector Review for Jobs Creation and Sustainable for Rural Livelihoods in Bhutan’ conducted by World Bank Project with technical assistance from Food Agriculture Organization, four value chain analysis were carried out.
The study on dairy products recommended improving shelf life of fresh milk through increased trainings in hygiene methods and technologies in milking, storing, transportation and processing among others.
To increase citrus production and attract traders and institutional buyers, a citrus association was instituted. Drying capabilities for industrial maize supply and maize processing techniques along with market research was improved for maize.
Moreover, the study was also conducted to determine the potential of farmers groups and cooperatives to supply dairy produce to the two airlines.
Additionally, an assessment of organic produce demand of high end (3 stars and above) hotels was conducted.
pic courtesy: facebook
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu