Food self-sufficiency has been the nation dream since the First Plan. We aren’t food self-sufficient still, many years since.
The problem is our own making. We planned and policies were thrown out one after another, most of which are just on papers.
As an agrarian society, not being able to capitalise on it has been our fault. Because we are compelled to import commodities from outside due to strict and conflicting laws in the country, our balance of trade had been negative, the repercussion of which has been serious.
The growth of agriculture sector has been and is the only hope for this country that is facing increased import and decreasing agricultural output. Yet the fact has been that we have not been able to prioritise our national dreams.
When our farmers are growing vegetables that are organic and safe to consume, our government do not seem to encourage them. Blaming the government altogether is also wrong, of course. Openings have been made recently. We need to do more.
The issues of youth unemployment and shortage of farmhands in the rural pockets of the country are problems so linked to each other and simple to address.
Give our young people what they need to exhibit their talent. Financial rules are too restrictive, though. When our nation is suffering from issues like increasing fallowing of land, financial regulation should change to encourage productivity of youth. Alas, our financial institutions are happy only to make profits and dish out bonuses for their staff! This is unfair and criminal.
Banning vegetable from India was significant because we need to think about public health. This is the time for the Bhutanese farmers to rise and make vegetables available throughout the country. Making this happen is the responsibility of the state. This is rising altogether to the making of our nation.
Food-security and national sovereignty has a very thin line. How are we looking at it as a nation?
Some communities in some dzongkhags are making real effort to encourage farming and making food security a reality. How are we helping them?
Agriculture is an answer to a lot of problems we are confronting today. We have not been able to give the sector the significance due to it. And this is sad.