Bhutan envisions a transformative journey towards a carbon-neutral, climate-resilient, and high-performance food systems by 2030. Our goal is to create a resilient ecosystem that effectively provides affordable, safe, and nutritious food for all while generating gainful employment and empowering women and children. At the heart of our vision lies the maximization of Gross National Happiness and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the implementation of various policies such as the Food and Nutrition Security Policy of Bhutan, National Food Systems Pathways, Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) for Food and Nutrition Security and Bhutan’s Nationally Determined Contributions. The agriculture sector is a catalyst to reimagine and design a food systems that prioritizes well-being and ecological stability. This endeavor requires bold investments, accelerated scientific innovations, and a renewed commitment to building a world free of hunger, strife, and poverty.

The agriculture sector remains of relevance to Bhutan. As of 2022, the agriculture sector supported around 43.50% of employment, while 61 % of the population living in rural areas directly depended on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods, contributing 14.67 % to the GDP. Subsequently, the agriculture sector has been prioritized in the upcoming 13th Five Year Plan, which sets ambitious targets for economic growth through strategic investment in opportunities and untapped potentials. By 2029, the nation aims to enhance productivity and broaden market access, fostering an ecosystem conducive to innovation and technological advancement, targeting GDP contribution close to USD 600 million from the sector. This vision encompasses diversifying products, boosting production efficiency, and improving export capabilities in the agriculture sector among the identified sectors. Bhutan is also targeting to increase export value from USD 36 million to USD 73 million by 2029, while simultaneously targeting GHG emissions reductions from the agriculture sector by 710kt, through enhanced adoption of climate smart and environmental friendly technologies. This points to the need to transform agriculture towards a sustainable market-oriented sector and defining a long-term vision for the sector as the country transitions from its LDC graduation in 2023.

We recognize the immense opportunities that lie ahead. Bhutan offers exciting prospects within its agrifood sector of high value and products to be produced under a unique geographical environment. By strategically investing across priority value chains, Bhutan can significantly boost its national economic development. To fully unlock this potential, it’s crucial to harness the support of both donors and private investors as well as establishing robust linkages, bolstering policy frameworks, and streamlining logistical operations to create and sustain efficient supply chains that seamlessly connect growers, processors, traders, and consumers.

Bringing Bhutan to the World – Bringing the World to Bhutan

The impetus to organize an event such as the Bhutan Agri-Food Trade and Investment Forum (BATIF) 2024 is driven by Bhutan’s participation in various regional and international forums such as the FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HiHi) Investment Forum.

At the Forum in 2023, Bhutan showcased its active participation in the HiHi, a flagship initiative of the FAO that streamlines and mobilizes investments into previously untapped agricultural potential. Bhutan prioritized transparent and innovative investments in 6 of Bhutan’s Special Agricultural Products (SAP), providing these commodities production and market advantages, while also ensuring high returns for both investors and farmers, elevating farm incomes and reducing poverty. Read More About HiHi in Bhutan Here.

The BATIF 2024 is a recognition of a similar partnership-building effort to provide a platform for Bhutanese policymakers, entrepreneurs, and businesses to present investment opportunities to investors, multilateral development banks, the private sector, and donors, with a focus on investment potential on national agriculture and food value chain investment opportunities.