Drying water thwarts rice self-sufficiency dream

Drying water thwarts rice self-sufficiency dream

SAM Staff,

If Bhutan cultivated all the land left fallow, the country would produce additional 10,323.315 metric tonnes (MT) of paddy every year.

According to the 2015 agriculture statistics, 6,345 acres of paddy fields were left fallow until 2015. Average paddy yield per acreage is around 1,627kg. This means, 6,193.989 MT rice is being lost annually. Compared with traditional mill, which produced 40 percent of rice, improved mill gives out 20 percent more.

Given the pressure on paddy fields due to the rapid drying up of irrigation water and urbanisation, the size of fallow land in the last two years could have increased. The report says that the paddy fields left fallow could be much higher than estimated, as the biannual survey excludes Gungtongs or empty households that do not engage in any form of agriculture activities.

In 2015, an average of 18 percent of farming households faced food shortage due to decreased rice production.