Best Business Opportunities in Bhutan - Identification and Selection of right Project, Thrust areas for Investment, Industry Startup and Entrepreneurship
The economy of Bhutan, one of the world's smallest and least developed countries, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 60% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. Most production in the industrial sector is of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labour. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organisations.
The industrial sector is in a nascent stage, and though most production comes from cottage industry, larger industries are being encouraged and some industries such as cement, steel, and ferroalloy have been set up. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian contract labour. Agricultural produce includes rice, chilies, dairy (some yak, mostly cow) products, buckwheat, barley, root crops, apples, and citrus and maize at lower elevations. Industries include cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages and calcium carbide.
Bhutan’s hydropower industry accounts for 32% of the nation’s economy. The dependency on a single sector is a potential risk factor, the report states. As an alternative revenue generation sector, the government is promoting tourism, which also hopes to generate employment. Like in most countries, the Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) play a pivotal role in the overall industrial economy of Bhutan.
Agriculture in Bhutan has a dominant role in the Bhutan's economy. Approximately 80% of the population of Bhutan are involved in agriculture. Over 95% of the earning women in the country work in the agricultural sector. Majority of the refugees in this Himalayan nation are also employed in the agricultural sector. Agriculture in Bhutan is characterized by its labor-intensive nature with relatively low intensity of farm inputs.
Major crops cultivated in Bhutan are maize and rice. Maize accounts for 49% of total domestic cereal cultivation, and rice accounts for 43%. Rice is the major staple crop. Agriculture in the country includes cultivation of wheat and other minor cereal crops. Paddy is the primary crop in those regions where proper irrigation is available. Apart from paddy, other crops like wheat, barley, oil seeds, potato and different vegetables are also cultivated in these lands. The primary goals of agriculture in Bhutan are to raise the per capita income of the people living in rural areas, to enhance self-sufficiency in staple crops, and to increase the productivity per unit of farm labor and agricultural land.
There may be investment opportunities in:
- Dall Mill (Split Dalls/ Pulses for Chhilke-wali Moong, Urad, Arhar, Channa, Masoor)
- Poha (Rice Flakes)
- Atta, Maida Suji & Wheat Bran (Wheat Flour Plant) Roller Flour Mill
- Rice Powder, Puttu and Wheat Powder
- Biscuits & Candy
- Rice Mill(Parboiled Rice)
- Bakery industry, etc.
Minerals and Mining
The country’s mineral industry was small and insignificant to its economy and was dominated by the production of cement, coal, dolomite, gypsum, and limestone. Known resources included deposits of beryl, copper, graphite, lead, mica, pyrite, tin, tungsten, and zinc. Mining is one of the fastest growing industries in Bhutan generating average revenue of 54 million U.S. dollars or contributing 3 percent to country's GDP.
Industrial mineral products were the primary output of Bhutan’s mineral industry and included dolomite, graphite, marble and slate, and sand and stone. The production of a variety of stone materials and energy fuels had been increasing steadily in recent years and corresponded to the increased demand for these commodities in the construction sector. While major exports of minerals are made in raw form, Bhutan processes some of its minerals into value-added products such as calcium carbide, cement, and ferrosilicon.
Accordingly, Bhutan’s policies on mining and quarrying consider inter-generational equity. This is important since minerals constitute vital raw materials for the mineral based manufacturing industries and are a major resource for economic development of a country. Bhutan is endowed with rich mineral resources that has allowed for the sustainable growth of a mineral based industry and export base. This mineral resource exploitation and value addition has helped generate employment and can contribute towards poverty alleviation.
There may be investment opportunities in:
- Artificial Marble Tiles
- Granite (Marble) Polishing Batti (Bar)
- Granite Marble Cutting and Polishing Unit
- Calcium Carbonate from Marble Chips
- Coal Washing Unit
- Ferro Silicon Manufacturing
- Gypsum plaster boards
- Beneficiation of chromium, nickel and manganese ore
- Integrated production unit of gypsum powder, gypsum board
- P.V.C. laminated gypsum ceiling tiles, etc.
Livestock farming practices continue to evolve in response to rapid modernization and growing economic opportunities in the Bhutan Himalaya. Animal husbandry is an integral part of farming activities in Bhutan and, especially in the high altitude or alpine regions, animal husbandry forms virtually the sole economic activity. The consumption of animal products is an important element of the Bhutanese diet.
Livestock is an integral part in all Bhutanese farming systems. While most households rear livestock for home consumption, livestock farming and nomadic herding are the predominant activities in the alpine and cool temperate zones. Over 80 per cent of rural households own cattle. Other significant livestock include poultry (reared by about 65% of rural households), pigs (38%), horses (23%), goats (15%) and yaks (2%). Inadequate pasture land and poor access to markets are significant constraints to improving production, but increasing urban demand for livestock products is encouraging farmers near urban areas to keep better breeds and improve feed and fodder management. In the livestock sector artificial insemination covers not only Jersey breeds that are high yielding but also for the production of Jatsa and Jatsam that are local high yielding varieties.
The indigenous cattle are the most important livestock genetic resources for food, animal energy and household income in Bhutan. Poultry farming is one of the important livestock farming components in Bhutan.
There may be investment opportunities in:
- Aquaculture Fish Farming
- Prawn/Shrimp Farming
- Poultry & Broiler Farming
- Management of Rabbits/Angora Rabbit Farming
- Goat & Sheep Farming
- Poultry Farm for Producing Eggs
- Animal Feed Using Date Pits, Discarded Dates and Other Ingredients
- Pig Farming
- Cattle Feed, etc.
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