English | Dzongkha Saturday, July 24, 2021

PAC recommends government to develop a roadmap for Food Self-sufficiency and Security

Jun 21, 2021

The government should focus on enhancing market information, market linkages and storage facilities for agricultural produce. This was one of the recommendations, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) made during the joint sitting today while presenting the review report of the Performance Audit report on food self-sufficiency and security.

“Some people called me moments before I entered the hall today. It is very disheartening to find out that the government could not provide proper market linkages and market information to the people. They are saying their products are rotting without a proper market,” said Dil Maya Rai, Member of Parliament from Tashichhoeling constituency in Samtse.

“When a farmer comes to Thimphu to sell his vegetables, he doesn’t get a place to sell. And if he sells on the streets, some chase him away saying he is not allowed to sell in the town areas,” added Surjaman Thapa, Dagana’s Member of Parliament.

The Member of Parliament from Paro, Ugyen Tshering who is the PAC’s Chairperson said that as per the committee’s findings, the country depends heavily on imported rice with limited arable land. “There is no policy and plans to compensate farmers who lose their crops to wildlife. And also marketing is one of the biggest challenges.”

To this, the agriculture minister said that the ministry is developing RNR Strategy 2040 and RNR Marketing Strategy guidelines which are expected to solve the majority of the issues once it is launched in around two months’ time.

The committee also recommended providing technical assistance to farmers in achieving large scale production, providing adequate compensation to farmers losing their crops to wildlife and that the government develop a separate Roadmap for Food-Self sufficiency and Security.

“Farmers in remote areas lose 40 to 50% of their crops to wildlife. So far, they did not get any compensation. That is why some are leaving their land fallow,” said Tashi Samdrup, Trongsa’s Member of Parliament.

Members of the joint sitting supported the recommendations by a majority show of hands.

The Performance Audit on Food Self-sufficiency and Security was conducted to ascertain the efficiency and effectiveness of the agriculture ministry in enhancing food self-sufficiency. The audit report was conducted based on the audit reports from the year 2012 to 2013 and 2016 to 2017.

Tshering Dendup

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