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Country Briefs

  Bhutan

Reference Date: 21-December-2020

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Aggregate cereal production in 2020 estimated slightly above average

  2. Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 marketing year (July/June) estimated at below‑average level

  3. COVID‑19 pandemic causes income losses and raises concerns regarding access to food

Aggregate cereal production in 2020 estimated slightly above average

The 2020 cropping season was concluded in November and aggregate cereal production, mostly rice and maize, is estimated at about 190 000 tonnes, slightly above the average level. The June‑September monsoon (rainy) season was characterized by average to above‑average precipitation amounts over the main cereal producing areas, benefiting planting activities and crop development. Localized damages to standing crops, mostly paddy in the low‑lying areas, were reported in the Sarpang District due to floods as heavy rainfall caused the overflow of the Mao River tributaries. Overall, the 2020 paddy and maize production is estimated at an above‑average level.

Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 estimated at below‑average level

The country relies heavily on imports, mostly from India, as local production covers only about two‑thirds of the total national cereal consumption. In the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June), total cereal import requirements are estimated below the five‑year average.

COVID‑19 pandemic causes income losses and raises concerns regarding access to food

Most households in the country are food secure. However, pockets of food insecurity conditions persist in some rural areas, especially in eastern and southern parts of the country. Here, a large number of households consume poor quality foods, mainly due to inadequate access to the food markets. The food security conditions for most vulnerable households may deteriorate further owing to the negative impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic. This is due to income losses associated with the COVID‑19‑related economic downturn and a strong decrease in remittances inflows, which amid high domestic prices of essential commodities such as rice and vegetables, raises concerns regarding households’ capacity to purchase foods.

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