What Are Effective Policies to Increase Food Security Under Increasing Labour Shortages and Feminization of Agriculture in Bhutan?

About 25% of rural households in Bhutan suffer from seasonal food shortages. In light of its landlocked situation and high international as well as domestic transportation cost, increasing domestic food production is a key concern of Bhutan’s government to improve food security. Public investments in irrigation schemes shall help to increase domestic paddy production. However, the country’s agricultural sector is characterized by severe labour shortages and an increasing feminization due to the outmigration of predominantly males. The burden of food production is thus left on the shoulders of women, which are traditionally already in charge of reproduction activities (i.e. raising children, caring for the elderly and housekeeping). The effectiveness of policies aimed at improving rural livelihoods and food security remain controversial given the crop-cycle determined seasonality of labour availability and the increasing pressure on women, who now have to allocate their scarce time between farm, off-farm, reproduction and leisure activities. Alternative policies, which increase the cash-income of households during slack seasons, may provide viable options to improve households’ food security in the long-term, especially during months of food shortage. The proposed project aims to evaluate current and alternative policies using an economy-wide modelling framework, which requires the data collection of gendered time-use of rural activities. It is thus proposed to conduct a survey that collects monthly information on the time-use of male and female rural workers in Bhutan. This survey would be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) in Bhutan, allowing for a broad geographic coverage at low cost.

Principal investigators
Grethe, Harald Prof. Dr. (Details) (International Agricultural Trade and Development)

Sonstige Stiftungen

Duration of project
Start date: 08/2017
End date: 12/2017

Last updated on 2022-09-09 at 01:06