Agriculture and livestock ministry aims high with Nu 50bn GDP contribution target

As the country aims to double its gross domestic product by 2029, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is looking to contribute Nu 50bn to the economy in the next five years. Minister Younten Phuntsho shared this during a recent ‘meet the press’ session. The government’s plans include promoting commercial farming, increasing farmers’ income, and utilising high-tech farming methods, among other initiatives, to achieve the target.

The latest figures from the central bank show the country’s GDP at almost Nu 230bn.

Between 2013 and 2022, the agriculture sector’s contribution to GDP, according to figures from the Asian Development Bank, has averaged around 12 per cent, equating to about Nu 20bn of the current GDP.

To increase the agriculture sector’s contribution to the economy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock plans to promote high-tech farming ventures in the 13th Five-Year Plan.

“In the past, we have primarily practised subsistence farming. Now, our focus will shift to large-scale commercial farming, with interventions in joint farming. State-owned organisations such as the Farm Machinery Corporation, in collaboration with youths, especially DeSuups, will undertake high-tech commercial farming,” said Younten Phuntsho, Agriculture and Livestock Minister.

The minister added that the focus is also on promoting market-driven farming practices and initiating collaboration between the Farm Machinery Corporation, the private sector, and youth.

“The FMCL possesses experience and machinery for farming, so the government will be initiating a joint venture. Rather than conducting trial projects with machinery, we will utilise technologies that have proven successful. For instance, greenhouses have yielded positive results. Past experiences have shown that government-initiated projects involving private parties or others midway have hindered the success of projects. Therefore, for high-tech farming, we will involve all parties from the outset.”

The ministry will focus on high-value agricultural and livestock commodities meant for export and the domestic market in the 13th Five-Year Plan.

Efforts will also be made to link schools, institutions, monasteries, and hospitals with high-tech farming ventures.

According to the Royal Monetary Authority’s 2023 annual report, the agriculture sector accounts for almost 45 per cent of the country’s total labour force.

Kinzang Lhadon

Edited by Sherub Dorji 

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