Bhutan’s agriculture has a key role in the country’s economy. This sector accounted for 35.9 % of GDP of the country in 2000. However, the share of this sector in GDP has been declined from 55 % in 1985 to 33 % in 2003 (Neuhoff et al., 2014). Instead of this significant downturn of this industry, it is still the primary source of livelihood for the majority of the population. IT has been estimated I country wide study that about 80 % citizen are involved in agriculture, agriculture whereas approximately 95 % working women has the primary earning from the agricultural sector. Bhutan’s agriculture is identified as its labour intensive nature with relatively low inputs by the farms. Most of the peasants in the country are small and marginal.
Within the identified agricultural lands in the country, approximately 21 % is irrigated wetland. About 43 % is rainfed dryland, approximately 27 % is nominated for shifting cultivation, around 3 % is for orchads and 1 % is used for kitchen gardens (Johnson & Hutton, 2014). The key goal of the agricultural sector in Bhutan is to raise the per capita income of people, who are the residents of rural areas of the country; which in turn helps to enhance self-sufficiency in staple crops as well as increases the per unit productivity of farm labour and agricultural land area.
One key hindrance of the progressive agricultural industry is the irrigation issue. Other issues include rough terrain, poor soil quality and limited number of arable lands. However, there are several other factors contributing towards both the success and downturn of the agricultural industry in Bhutan. A significant downturn has been identified through the last decade in the country’s agriculture, which is significantly affecting the country’s economy (Wangchuk & Siebert, 2013). These factors needed to be investigated in an in depth manner to understand the current situation of the industry as well as to identify the scope of improvement in its productivity. It is a significant research area, as the agricultural industry is the key domain of the country’s economy. Therefore, investigating this area would help to identify the scope of practices, through which the nation’s overall economy can be improved and stabilized. It would also sustain the industry through the increased likelihood of innovation in this sector, which ultimately increase the industrial yield and promote the industrial expansion.
Aims and Objectives
This research aims to review the current context of Bhutan’s agricultural sector thorough an in depth review of the issues raised in the agriculture sector of Bhutan. The study also aims to provide recommendations for improving the efficiency of the agricultural sector of Bhutan.
- To review the agricultural sector in Bhutan
- To identify issues raising in Bhutan’s agricultural sector
- To determine recommendations for mitigating the issues in Bhutan’s agricultural sector in order to improve the industrial efficiency
- What is the current situation of the agricultural sector in Bhutan?
- What issues are rising in Bhutan’s agricultural sector?
- What recommendations can be provided to mitigate the issues in Bhutan’s agricultural sector for improving the industrial efficiency?
Bhutan is a developing country relying greatly on the agricultural industry of the country, which is situated in the Himalayan mountain range. Leeuwis (2013) reported that most of the economy of this country is based on its agriculture and the forest, where a significant percentage of residents rely on the agriculture industry for their livelihood. However, the landscape is usually mountains, which enhances the difficulties for the farmers. However, approximately one third of the population suffers from food insecurity. In 1997, the agricultural sector provided 38.5 % of GDP, with a significant decline from 55 % in 1998. The average farm size is about 1.7 hectares. Poverty is affecting 30 % of the population, mostly in rural are. Rice is the main crop, which is grown about 60 % of the rural households. Over 500 varieties of local rice are grown and catalogued. Although the consumption of rice by the citizen is 100,000 tonnes but the country produces only half of the amount (Nkonya et al., 2014). In rotation with mustard, pulses, wheat and tropical fruit, low altitude rice is grown. Other major crops include maize, buckwheat, barley, foxtail millet, finger millet, potatoes and soybean. The Government of Bhutan has aimed to make the industry entirely based on agriculture, making organic agriculture by 2020 for increasing the productivity and farmer’s income, while making no harm to the environment.
Contribution in economy
In the early 1990s, Bhutan has been recognized as one of the poorest of the least developed countries in the world, by the international aid agencies. During late 1980s, approximately 95 % of the workforce was involved in the agricultural sector including livestock, agriculture, forestry and fishing. For 1991, government ensured that the agricultural industry would produce 46.2 % of nation’s GDP (Meenawat & Sovacool, 2011). The economy of this country is aligned with India’s through a strong trade and monitory connections, representing its dependence on India’s financial context; agriculture is the stem of their economy and connection. During 2014, the agriculture sector contributed 14.4 % of total GDP of the nation, showing significant decline in its productivity; although the highest labour force is involved in this sector, i.e. 56 %, estimated in 2013. Decline in the growth of livestock is also contributing in declined economy of the country. Decline in the growth rate of livestock has been estimated as 4.6 % in 1980s to 2.7 % in 2000s.
Significant decline in the contribution of Bhutan’s agriculture in nation’s GDP has been reported through the last decade. Several environment barriers are contributing in the overall challenges of the country to contribute in its economy. The rate of production has been significantly declined after 1990s. The growth rate of livestock has also been declined from 1990s. Although the growth of forestry sub sector accelerated till 2000, it declined sharply thereafter. It is probably due to the increased emphasis on reducing the exploitation of forest resources as a part of policy effort for ensuring sustainable development. There are several factors reducing the growth rate of the products. In the last decade the area under food grains has increased with a rate of 1.35 %, whereas the production declined at a rate of 0.53 % (Leeuwis, 2013). The key issue is that despite of increased land area for the crop fields the yield is decreasing. The existence of large yield gaps throug Dzongkhags and the low yield in the Dzongkhags with larger area under cultivation is another significant issue. It is because this district has the largest cultivation area, while having relatively poor yield, which is becoming a fatal issue for Bhutanese agriculture. On the other hand, the falling share of agriculture in public and private investment is another gap. Since 1982, the share of agriculture in the five year plan spending has consistently been declining in Bhutan’s agriculture (Johnson & Hutton, 2014). Decline in the share of agriculture in public GDFC has been extensive after 1990s. This sector employs two third of the country’s workforce but gets only one tenth of public investment. Thus, the low productivity is reducing farmer’s income and making their lives harder.
Scope of improvement
The issue of reduced yield in this sector has been analyzed through different domains. Government needs to undertake appropriate steps for resolving these issues. Government of Bhutan has been declared that by 2020 the whole agricultural sector will be concerted to organic agriculture, which would significantly improve the productivity rate as well as farmers’ income, on the other hand would take one step ahead for preserving the environment and improving the lives of the citizens (Wangchuk & Siebert, 2013). However, government needs to analyze all the pros and cons related to this major step with the sector, as it would have an great impact upon the nation’s economy and the challenges would also be greater.
Thus, this study would help to investigate the above mentioned issues and the remedies that have already undertaken to improve the situation as well as the recommendations for mitigating the expected issues with the strategies adopted for bringing change in the situation.
According to Cameron (2012) methodology is a key determinant of research success. Selecting appropriate research methods is required for meeting the research objective in simple and faster way, which maximum efficiency of the research outcomes. Therefore, it is important to analyze the suitability of the research methods and tools based on the research area, which is being investigated.
In this study, the research area is significantly wide, i.e. the agriculture in Bhutan. Therefore, the investigation needs to be conducted with a lot of data collection and information search. Thus, the study would be conducted by selecting a secondary research method. It is because, the secondary research method provides the opportunity to search a vast level of pre-existing and authenticated literatures and analyze those data in descriptive manner (Lancaster, 2012). On the other hand, primary method includes direct communication with the participant group, but for this research topic, the area is vast, making it inappropriate for the study. Thus, selecting the secondary research methodology is suitable.
The research philosophy guides a research with provision of a suitable way for conducting the research. Research philosophies are providing provide appropriate knowledge and dimension for a specific research study. Selection of appropriate philosophies helps in conducting the research in an appropriate manner. According to Crouch and Pearce (2012) there are three types of research philosophies including positivism, interpretivism and realism, which are being used in the research studies. Positivism philosophy helps to consider all the research aspects by analyzing the research data with the pre-existing literatures. On the other hand, the interpretivism philosophy tells that human interpretation can affect the research outcomes. On the other hand, the realism philosophy deals with real data. In this study, the positivism philosophy will be selected as it helps to complete this research work with cross-checked data and information on the basis of pre-existing scientific information related to agriculture in Bhutan.
There are two types of research approaches including the deductive and inductive research approaches. It is advantageous to use the deductive approach in many researches as it focuses on gaining knowledge by using top-bottom approach to develop a hypothesis after reviewing the existing literature and after obtaining the factual data for proving the authenticity of the existing theories after proper examination. Unlike the deductive approach, inductive approach is more advantageous for those research works, which focuses upon developing new hypothesis in accordance to the research topic. In the current context of research, the topic is vast enough and enough research has been done in this domain, thus there is no scope for developing new hypothesis (Crowther & Lancaster, 2012). In this study, the deductive approach has been selected as it helps to gather and conclude the knowledge from the theories that are in existence, concepts related to the research topic. However, there is limited scope for developing new theory regarding agriculture in Bhutan, thus the selection of the research approach is suitable.
Du and Hak (2012) claimed that selection and implementation of appropriate research design helps to identify problems related to the research, which can be studied by using a systematic plan. In this context, there are three types of research designs used in various types of research work. These include exploratory, explanatory and descriptive research design. For instance, exploratory research design focuses on gathering background knowledge related to the research topic as the true objectives related to the research are not yet clear and therefore as the research progresses the problems relating to the research are developed. On the other hand, the descriptive research methodology relies upon considering each research aspect including dependent, independent and uncontrolled variables in an in-depth manner to maximize the quality of research outcome. In this research, the descriptive research design would be selected as with the help of this design problems relating to the research can be dealt from different paradigms considering different research variables.
Data collection method
Selection of proper data collection method is crucial for gathering appropriate and in-depth data for the research and leading to the expected findings. Based on the research, the primary or secondary data collection methods are selected. In case of primary data collection method, the research data are collected from the sample directly associated with the research issue. In contrast, the secondary data collection method is associated with searching pre-existing literatures and analyzing the data on the research topic that has already been present in the research field. These data would include the research information from existing journals, articles, books and reports (Freshwater, 2012). In this research, the secondary data collection method would be selected as the research area is vast and it is tough to collect primary data from the sample population throughout the country. In contrast, the secondary data would help to enrich the research findings with authenticated information. Moreover, this method is cheaper and faster than primary data collection process.
The literature review would be done through review of journals and articles aligning with the research objectives. Suitable articles would be critically analyzed for answering the research questions. The method will follow the data collection tool PRISMA framework for conducting the literature review. Initially, several databases like Cochrane Library, CINAHL, EMBASE, Pubmed and Google Scholar will be searched. The search period will be 2006 to 2017 (Gummerson, 2012). Articles published in English would be included. With the primary search terms, Boolean operators OR and AND would be added for secondary search terms. For reviewing the selected articles critically, the CASP tool would be used.
Data analysis methods
Collecting the secondary data from the relevant literatures, these would be subjected to thematic analysis for analyzing these data in context of research objectives and for answering the research questions (Hesse-Biber, 2012).
All the data that will be collected would be authenticated. To avoid ethical issues, consents will be collected from the authors of the articles that will be reviewed and used in this study Hooper (2012). On the other hand the Data protection act 1998 will be followed throughout the study.
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