The month of July saw progress in WFP’s intended agriculture support through the value chain as well as the planned national social and behaviour change communication campaign for improved diets. WFP held a high-profile meeting with the Agriculture Minister which resulted in the Government supporting WFP’s proposed interventions for the agriculture sector.
Additionally, WFP succeeded in forging new national and international technical partnerships in the field of food safety and quality. This will improve collaboration on fortification and capacity strengthening initiatives.
WFP met with the Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests to discuss WFP’s support. The high-profile meeting covered discussions on WFP’s food system assistance to the agriculture sector. This includes strengthening demand for local nutritious foods, supporting the production of climate smart agriculture, and supporting postharvest management, marketing, knowledge management, and cost efficiency. The two parties also discussed a social and behaviour change communication campaign to transform dietary habits for Bhutan’s children. This campaign would complement the Prime Minister’s plan for the ‘Healthy Drukyul’ online campaign.
As an extension of WFP’s food system support to the Agriculture Stimulus Plan across the agriculture value chain, WFP continued with field visits to important agriculture centres such as Mongar and Lhuntse to engage relevant officials and stakeholders on WFP’s plans. This support will aim to improve agriculture production, marketing and build farmer linkages to schools and local markets.
WFP initiated the first-ever bilateral consultation with Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority to discuss ongoing and future areas of collaboration. The discussions resulted in plans for broad alignment on import controls for fortified rice kernels, technical cooperation with the Association of Official Analytical Collaboration (AOAC), joint monitoring of schools, development of advocacy materials and field test kits; and participation in the upcoming rice fortification workshop among others.