For want of a good dressing

One need not be an economists or an economic expert to understand the importance of exports. When you sell, you earn and what you earn can be used to purchase something. If you want to sell, you will need to put some effort in making something that others would buy. And in arriving to the good that one wants to sell, there should be materials at hand to make that required good.

We are basically talking about the fundamentals of export, such as inputs and outputs, which includes the factors of production like land, labour and capital. It is economics in its basic. It is economics that will not make sense to all the non-economists. And it is terms such as deficit, inflation, expansion, contraction and others, alphabets for scholars of economists, which make others scratch their heads. Nonetheless, all of us understand the power that ensues from selling more, or the power that accompanies someone who can export.   

In the economic jargon, exports can lead to increased investment, technological advancement and import expansion, ultimately contributing to economic growth. Additionally, economic growth can lead to further export expansion by fostering the adoption of technology and increasing the level of imports, which can then be used as inputs for export-oriented production. A country that can export more is generally richer. And pursuit of the rich is not general, but a universal phenomenon.

However, the world today is so connected, that what was once foreign in all aspects, no longer is. Try telling our old folks that the war in Ukraine is kicking our bellies and that sellers at Kajathrom have ridiculous prices for a kilogram of broccoli all because of the ridiculous war Putin has waged against Zelenskyy. And connected means competition and together with it all that follow!

Due to this, we can no longer sell our products like we could in the past. The average seller at Kajathrom can somehow shove their products down our throats. But we have learned that the same cannot be done, even at the FCB depot at Phuentsholing and certainly not in Perth, Australia. For that matter, there are conditions to be followed, quality inspections and certifications required, for a broccoli from Kajathrom or a kishuthara from Khoma in Lhuntse   to be treated with the same dignity at Perth or Queens in New York. It is because of this that our folks in Phobjikha now know that more than the potatoes, the way they are presented matter. Together with presentation, goods now need to carry the seals of qualification. If not, we cannot sell!

It is in this front that successive governments have failed, and miserably. We may be producing organic goods in a carbon negative country. But it will not make meaning unless we get the stamps of regional and international repute. We have witnessed governments make several attempts at strengthening production. But we need to do more in ensuring that what is produced is equally respected and received at the regional and international markets. We have not seen much happening in this area.

We can boost exports. But what use would it be if there are no markets?