May-June 2022: The SAARC Development Fund team undertook a field mission to Paro and Chhukha districts in Bhutan to monitor the progress of the SDF-funded livelihood enhancement project.
The project - Livelihood enhancement of the small farmers in the SAARC Region through small-scale agribusiness focusing on value chain development - provides farmers in the SAARC Member States opportunities to improve their livelihoods and increase income through small scale agro-business focusing on value chain development.
In Bhutan, the project is implemented in Bjachho gewog (administrative division composing a group of villages) in Chhukha and Yoedseltse gewog in Samtse. SDF has committed a grant of over US$ 191,334 to Bhutan for this project, of which US$ 150,191 has been disbursed so far.
SDF team saw the recently contructed processing shed, held furitful discussions with partners at the National Post Harvest Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, and community members to assess the contributions SDF project is making.
The objective of the ongoing livelihood project is to combat both rural and urban poverty through:
· rural enterprise promotion;
· access to microfinance;
· development of small and medium enterprises;
· and construction of rural infrastructure.
The team was also made aware of the benefits of the Refrigerator Truck, which was bought with SDF support to transport perishable agriculture produce from the farms to either the cold storage or the market. The trucks are equipped with temperature control and monitoring mechanisms to keep agriculture contents safe and consumable.