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The Government of Bhutan and WFP launch project to strengthen smallholder farmers’ resilience

THIMPHU - The Royal Government of Bhutan and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD) today launched a US$13 million five-year project funded by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), “Building Resilient Commercial Smallholder Agriculture in Bhutan” (BRECSA), aimed at strengthening smallholder agriculture in the country.

The project, expected to benefit over 12,000 farmer households in nearly 540 villages, will support smallholder agriculture value chains in four of the country’s most vulnerable districts - Zhemgang, Tsirang, Trongsa, and Sarpang – which also hold a strong potential for commercial farming. BRECSA’s interventions in these areas will build on IFAD’s existing work in Eastern Bhutan under the Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Programme.

The impacts of extreme climate events, with increasing incidences of erratic rainfall patterns, pest infestations and shifting agro-ecological zones, are adding a further burden on smallholder farmers in Bhutan.

“WFP is committed to working with the Royal Government to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic through economic and social recovery works,” said WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Bhutan, Carrie Morrison. “BRECSA will help build linkages between climate-responsive value chain development and market-oriented food production, supporting Bhutan’s transition from a least developed to a middle-income country,” she added. The project also aims to boost equitable employment and income generating opportunities for smallholder farmers, especially women and youth through capacity building and investment support.

BRECSA will target subsistence, semi-commercial and commercial farmers, and aims to generate a 30 percent increase in agricultural production in the four target districts by 2030. The objective is to transform smallholder agriculture into inclusive and resilient agri-food systems that are increasingly profitable, and food and nutrition secure.

Globally, smallholder farmers work on farms less than two hectares in size but grow one-third of the world’s food. In Bhutan, according to the Government-led Labour Force Survey conducted in 2021, the agricultural sector employs half of the population of which nearly 58 percent are women. Most Bhutanese farmers are smallholders and face socio-cultural setbacks including low literacy levels, land fragmentation and degradation and wildlife damage. They also suffer from limited technology availability and capacity, and access to credit, input and markets.



Bhutan Climate Resilience Partnerships


Karma Tshering, Chief Planning Officer, Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, +975 17116505

Kinley Wangmo, Communications, Advocacy and Marketing Officer, WFP,, +975 17342610