…𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒚 𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝒚𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒚 𝒅𝒆𝒄𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒇𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏
By Sonam Deki
Over the four-year period from 2019-2020 to 2022-2023, a declining trend in the domestic production of agricultural products is evident, dropping from 47,828 metric tons to 26,261 metric tons. Concurrently, imports have steadily increased from 8,847 metric tons to 16,140 metric tons. Consequently, the sufficiency percentage, representing the ability to meet domestic demand through production alone, decreased from 90% in 2019-2020 to 65% in 2022-2023, indicating a growing reliance on imports to fulfill demand.
The Department of Agriculture (DoA), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, stated, “Food production in the country, including vegetables, is decreasing year on year due to multiple reasons. Firstly, agriculture is not as profitable compared to other off-farm activiities and e-fencing. Additionally, the prioritization of commercial crops is underway to ensure a more focused and profitable agricultural landscape. Land development initiatives are being implemented to enrich soil quality and facilitate cultivation processes. Farm machinery support is being provided to alleviate the drudgery associated with manual labor. An innovative approach involves linking farmers with institutions like schools, hospitals, and Gyalsung for mutual benefits.” DOA added, “The commercialization drive aims to encourage large-scale farming by groups, fostering collaboration and efficiency. Recognizing the impact of climate change, there is a focus on implementing a climate-proof irrigation system, including the upscaling of water-efficient technologies. Finally, a critical aspect involves the ongoing review and revision of policies, with the goal of making agriculture not only attractive but also profitable in the 13th Five-Year Plan and beyond.”
DoA said, “Although production remains the same on average, the production gap has been drastically reduced. Unlike in the past, good varieties of vegetables are available throughout the year. This is because of the production inputs support, such as land development, fencing, etc., by the department. This is also attributed to the availability of markets both regionally and internationally. However, in terms of production quantities, it has been limited by cheap imports and many production-related factors affecting production.”