WFP introduces USD14.6M plan to enhance Bhutan’s food security and economy

WFP introduces USD14.6M plan to enhance Bhutan’s food security and economy

The World Food Programme (WFP) has introduced a strategic plan for Bhutan aimed at bolstering the nation’s journey towards sustainable development and food security. Totaling USD 14,603,177 over five years, the plan comes at a crucial juncture following Bhutan’s graduation from the category of least-developed countries in December 2023.

Approved by the Executive Board in February, WFP Bhutan’s Country Strategic Plan 2024-2028 emphasizes supporting Bhutan’s efforts to address challenges in nutrition and agriculture while promoting economic growth. This overall ambition of the country strategic plan will be realized through the achievement of two country strategic plan outcomes.

Under Outcome 1, rural populations in Bhutan, particularly women smallholder farmers, young people and persons with disabilities, will seek to achieve climate-resilient livelihoods and increased food security and nutrition by 2030. Under Outcome 2, the citizens of Bhutan, particularly vulnerable population groups are to benefit from enhanced human capital and a food system that is resilient to climate and other crises and shocks by 2030.

The plan allocates USD 8,730,743 for outcome 1 and USD 5,872,435 for outcome 2, maintaining consistent resource allocations throughout the implementation period.

With objectives spanning from March 2024 to December 2028, the plan aims to alleviate the triple burden of malnutrition in Bhutan, particularly affecting vulnerable communities. It focuses on enhancing productivity in agriculture, reducing post-harvest losses, and integrating nutrition considerations into social protection programs.

One key aspect of the plan is WFP’s commitment to building the capacity of government institutions and engaging private sector partners, with a focus on gender equality. Initiatives will include investments in resilient food systems, nutrition integration in school feeding programs, and strengthening emergency response mechanisms.

While Bhutan has made strides in economic growth, challenges such as low agricultural productivity and climate change persist, hindering progress towards Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategic plan aligns with Bhutan’s 13th Five-Year Plan and the UN’s Sustainable Development Framework, aiming to empower rural women, youths, and individuals with disabilities.

This strategy is also anchored in and guided by the associated priorities of the United Nations sustainable development cooperation framework for 2024–2028. It is informed by WFP’s analyses of smallholder production, agricultural markets and nutritious diets, carried out under the previous country strategic plan for 2019–2023, and the valuable learning gained from institutional capacity strengthening following the successful transition of school feeding interventions to full government management in 2019. Through greater attention to transformative actions, WFP will prioritize rural women’s economic empowerment, the inclusion of persons with disabilities and the generation of business and employment opportunities for young people of both sexes.

To ensure successful implementation, WFP plans to secure 100 percent of the budget for outcome 1 in the first two years, with a focus on attracting new funding for climate resilience and smallholder value chains. Efforts will also be made to diversify donors and explore innovative financing opportunities in collaboration with partners.

Through these measures, WFP seeks to support Bhutan’s sustainable development goals and strengthen its food security and economic resilience in the years to come.

By Sangay Rabten, Thimphu