MoF and UNDP sign USD 1.54 million project to promote low-carbon farming in Bhutan

Project will support over 2,000 smallholder farmers in adopting technology-enabled farming practices

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Unite Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a new project worth USD 1.54 million, supported by the Government of Japan and UNDP, to promote innovative, low-carbon, and technology-enabled farming solutions in eight districts in Bhutan.

The project, titled “Promoting Technologically Enabled Agriculture for the Vulnerable Farming Population in Bhutan,” will focus on supporting smallholder farmers in adopting technology-enabled farming practices to transform Bhutan’s agri-food system for resilience in the face of climate change and other crises.

The year-long project will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL) and aims to support over 2,000 farmers, including women and youth, and entrepreneurs in eight districts.

It will foster green agri-business, post-harvest technologies, and resilient marketing facilities. The project interventions align with the Royal Government’s priority to achieve food self-sufficiency and economic self-reliance.

According to Mr. Loday Tsheten, the Director of the Department of Macro Fiscal and Development Finance, the project is essential to reinforce adaptive response mechanisms in the agriculture sector to build the resilience of farmers and entrepreneurs. The project must be transformative, employment-generating, and drive impacts through business models to test innovation and technologies in the agriculture system.

The UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Mohammad Younus, highlighted the importance of the project in supporting Bhutan’s farming system through innovative and nature-based solutions, digitalization, and resilient supply chain systems to help Bhutan advance national food security and green socio-economic recovery goals.

Mr. Hiroyuki Yamashita, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan, virtually joined the signing ceremony from New Delhi. According to him, the project is significant as it will directly contribute towards translating the plans and ambitions to promote low-carbon development in the agri-food sector, laid out in Bhutan’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, into concrete actions and impacts. He further stated that Japan is proud to partner with the Royal Government of Bhutan and UNDP in this endeavor.

The project will promote low-carbon farming practices, increase biomass through improved perennial crop production and orchards, and enhance efficiencies across the storage and distribution system, helping reduce carbon emissions from the agriculture and livestock sector, which currently accounts for 14.5 percent of the country’s total carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, the project aims to transform Bhutan’s agriculture sector and achieve its food self-sufficiency and economic self-reliance goals while promoting low-carbon farming practices and reducing carbon emissions.

Staff Reporter from Thimphu