Few NC members suggest national rice policy for self-sufficiency

Deliberating on the Good Governance Committee’s recommendations to address the issue of Satong and Gungtong today, some members of the National Council suggested formulation of a national rice policy. The members highlighted that the country’s rice import has been increasing over the years and that it is high time to have such a policy if Bhutan is to become rice self-sufficient.

During the deliberation on the committee’s recommendation on converting fallow land and allowing flexible use of wetland, the Members of Parliament of Pema Gatshel and Monggar proposed the recommendation on the formulation of a national rice policy.

Pema Gatshel’s Member of Parliament said having such a policy will guide domestic rice production strategy, and provide a clear guideline on conversion of wetland. In addition, the MP said, it will also help the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to allocate dedicated budget to rice programmes and ensure technological adoption to increase production for self-sufficiency.

“In 2017, the country produced 86,383 metric tonnes of rice which decreased to 40,745 metric tonnes in 2022. There has been a decrease in the production by 11 per cent annually. Currently, we are 25.2 per cent rice sufficient. Even if we work on all the fallow wetland, we can never achieve self-sufficiency. As we understand the importance of rice, isn’t it high time we have a national rice policy?,” said Jamyang Namgyal, Pema Gatshel’s National Council member.

“Rice is one of the most imported commodities in the country. I think it is because of the lack of a policy. To make the country rice self-sufficient, we need to stop importing rice and make it possible to have enough rice produced within the country. I also support having a separate national rice policy,” said Tshering Wangchen, Monggar’s National Council member.

Following deliberations on all ten recommendations of the Good Governance Committee, the chairperson of the house instructed the committee to review and discuss five recommendations during the committee meeting.

The house will hold the final deliberations on the review report on Satong and Gungtong next month.

Sonam Yuden

Edited Phub Gyem 

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