Bhutan

WFP Bhutan Country Brief, March 2020

Attachments

Highlights

WFP has submitted a food and nutrition security technical assistance package to the Royal Government of Bhutan to support in COVID-19 preparedness and response. WFP will support food price monitoring, prepositioning of food, targeting, food distribution modality, as well as food safety and quality. As part of the package,
WFP has officially donated two mobile storage units to the Government.

The pandemic is causing some minor disruptions in the food supply chain due to a complete lockdown in neighbouring India, the major supplier of food to Bhutan. Therefore, WFP has reprogrammed some of its funds to accelerate agriculture production and farmer linkages to markets to help mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

Operational Updates

• WFP has donated two mobile storage units in support of the Royal Government of Bhutan COVID-19 preparedness and response. The facilities will be used to help authorities preposition food to meet the needs of half of Bhutan’s entire population for six months.
The handing over of the storage units, with a capacity of 500 mt each and worth a total of USD 45,000, were part of a larger food and nutrition security technical assistance package to the Government. The package offered support on food price monitoring; prepositioning of food; targeting, food distribution modality and monitoring; and food safety and quality.

• As a part of the Government’s plan for COVID-19 response, WFP also agreed to support the National Contingency Plan and Agriculture Stimulus Plan for the agriculture sector and has front-loaded assistance to agriculture production and farmer linkages to markets. WFP has reprogrammed some of its funds to these priorities.

• WFP participated in sub-technical committee meetings on 3rd and 19th March held for the drafting of technical standards for fortified rice and fortified rice kernels. Led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, the meetings formed part of an important decision to standardize the rice fortification process in the country.
In its country strategic plan, WFP Bhutan country office supports the development of the regulatory and compliance framework of the food fortification programme in the country.