WFP Bhutan Country Brief, September 2020

Situation Report
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In September, WFP held a series of consultations with agriculture stakeholders that resulted in WFP supporting enhanced winter vegetable production in the country. On the innovation front, WFP has stepped up its support on the monitoring and evaluating system for the agriculture ministry, completing the data collection stage. WFP has also made progress on the 72-hour rapid assessment system as well as the earthquake impact modelling study with a planned simulation exercise.

Operational Updates

  1. WFP agreed with the Department of Agriculture to support enhanced winter vegetable production in targeted districts in the southern belt of the country. That followed several consultative meetings with the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives to ensure continuity of the programme. Additionally, WFP had follow-up calls with the Regional Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives Offices in Mongar & Gelephu districts. However, the implementation of planned activities may be delayed by the COVID-19 response.

  2. WFP has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture on mapping and strengthening the agricultural monitoring and reporting systems and has collected various indicators and processes practiced by different government agencies. Currently, WFP is studying these data to identify strengths, overlaps, and gaps. A working session is planned for all stakeholders to meet and develop the blueprint of the required system.

  3. WFP participated in discussions with the apex Government planning body, the Gross National Happiness Commission, to streamline the Annual Work Plan and Budget 2020 to align better with the Government’s COVID-19 response program.

  4. WFP, in partnership with the Association of Official Analytical Collaboration (AOAC) India section, organized the second technical webinar as part of Phase-I of technical cooperation among WFP, AOAC and Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority’s National Food Testing Laboratory (NFTL). An independent expert on the subject, Dr V. K. Gupta delivered a webinar to help strengthen the knowledge of NFTL analysts on vitamin analysis in foods, particularly fortified rice.