English | Dzongkha Saturday, October 31, 2020

Enhancing export quality requirements of local food items

Nov 6, 2019

Although there is a growing demand for local food items in the international market, the products fail to meet the international requirements. So to help Bhutan take advantage of the premium market, a two-day workshop on export quality management was held in Thimphu.

At present, Bhutan is not able to fulfil the technical requirements of the high-end market like the European market, the United States and Japan. The requirements include health and hygiene, food safety, certification process and conforming to the standards.

The workshop is part of the European Union (EU)- Bhutan trade support project. The project aims to diversify exports by improving the national trade and investment regulatory framework, and increase exports of horticulture products and textile handicrafts.  expected to develop the capacity of government and private sector on quality and standards of food items.

The project also helps small and medium enterprise (SMEs) to access new markets with a  focus on the EU, to identify and comply with quality and standards to meet international requirements of the products.

“The workshop is mainly held for the government stakeholders as well as the private sector, private sector like SMEs or CSIs in the country especially working in the food sector to build their capacity on the technical requirements for quality and standards basically for the food items,” Kiran Subedi, the National Project Coordinator of the EU-Bhutan Trade support Project, said.

The workshop will come out with an action plan to provide a way forward to meet the requirements.

“Basically for the premium market like the  EU, the US or Japan, they have different standards, so because our entrepreneurs are not able to fulfil these standards, that’s why they are not able to export. There was a number of times where the products were being developed, they also contacted buyers from the premium market, when they actually try to export, the export was stopped like in the importing countries just because we were not able to meet these technical standards. The idea of this workshop is to empower our enterprise to meet those technical requirements,” Kiran Subedi added.

Bhutan exports limited amount of ginger, turmeric, mushroom and dairy products of yaks to premium markets. Exports could increase if the technical requirements are met.

Choni Dema

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