English | Dzongkha Wednesday, January 20, 2021

MoAF Minister says no problem in exporting farm produce amid the pandemic, NA

Dec 1, 2020

With many farmers starting commercial farming and producing on a large scale over the years, the issue of sale and export of the produce has been persistent. And in this session amid the pandemic, the parliamentarians of the National Assembly questioned the Agriculture and Forests Minister on plans and strategies to improve the sale of farm produce.

Choida Jamtsho, Member of Parliament (MP) of Nganglam asked the Minister for Agriculture and Forests about the government’s plans to ease the export of mandarin.

“In 2019, Bhutan exported around 15,000 metric tonnes of mandarin worth Nu 530 M. And in 2018, 11,000 metric tonnes of mandarin worth Nu 355 M was exported. Likewise, the season of mandarins is here but because of COVID-19 restrictions, people are worried about the mandarin export business.”

To this Agriculture and Forests Minister Yeshey Penjor said there is no problem in selling the agriculture produce.

“Despite some issues in export due to the location, there is no major problem in the export of any agricultural produce caused by the pandemic. We have plans and strategies in place with neighbouring countries which made import and export easy. But the Ministry is rather worried about the quantity and quality of the produce,” said Lyonpo.

Tshering Choden, the Khar Yurung MP also questioned on the government’s plan to improve the buyback policy.

“It is our goal to realise self-reliance and to do so, the government has made a buyback policy. The government in its 120 days pledges as well promised to buy produce from our farmers at a higher rate than the market. The government has not been able to implement the policy properly to this time.”

Lyonpo said the buyback policy should not be the priority, instead, the government will be facilitating market within and abroad for the products. If everything fails, then the ministry will activate the buyback policy.

“Only if we have a problem selling the products within our country or export it to another country, then only the government will buy the product. This is called the buyback policy.  But this should be the last resort. We have to rather focus on marketing and selling the produce first,” Lyonpo said.

According to the Minister, the government, during the pandemic, has bought Nu 24 M worth of perishable vegetables from the farmers.

Sangay Chezom

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