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Country Briefs

  Bhutan

Reference Date: 27-March-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Favourable prospects for 2019 minor winter crops

  2. Aggregate cereal output in 2018 estimated above average

  3. Cereal import requirements in 2018/19 marketing year (July/June) forecast below average

  4. Food insecurity conditions persist in most rural areas

Favourable prospects for 2019 minor winter crops

Production prospects for the 2019 minor wheat and barley winter crops, for harvest in June, are currently favourable. Near average and well-distributed rains since October 2018 have supported planting activities and early crop development. Recent remote sensing data exhibits favourable vegetation conditions throughout the country (see Vegetation Health Index map).

Aggregate cereal output in 2018 estimated above average

The 2018 cropping season was completed in November 2018 and aggregate cereal production, mostly rice and maize, is estimated at 187 100 tonnes, virtually unchanged from the above-average output in 2017. The 2018 paddy and maize outputs are estimated at 88 000 and 90 000 tonnes, respectively, reflecting higher yields supported by favourable weather conditions since May through October 2018 and near-average plantings. The output of other minor crops such as millet, barley and wheat, is estimated at near-average levels.

Cereal import requirements in 2018/19 forecast below average

The country relies heavily on imports to satisfy its domestic needs as local production covers only about two-thirds of the total national cereal consumption. In the 2018/19 marketing year (July/June), total cereal import requirements are forecast at 82 500 tonnes, 7 percent below the five-year average. The decrease mainly reflects a slowdown in rice imports, which are expected at 70 000 tonnes, 10 percent below the average, due to ample local availabilities from the bumper paddy output in 2018. By contrast, wheat import requirements are forecast at an average of 9 000 tonnes.

Food insecurity conditions persist in most rural areas

Food insecurity persists mostly in rural areas, especially in eastern and southern parts of the country. According to the 2018 Country Strategic Plan of the World Food Programme (WFP), about 40 percent of the rural households rely on diets of poor quality, mainly due to inadequate access to the food markets.

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