Bhutanese economy is dominantly agrarian and about 31% of the population still live under poverty line. With a bulk of the population being farmers, agriculture is the main stay of their sustenance followed by a large extent with animal husbandry. Animal products such as cheese, butter and milk not only form a major diet for the farmers but also contribute to their income. With many farmers groups and cooperatives being encouraged by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, people have been encouraged to set up cooperative stalls where they can easily market their farm products.


However, in general all Bhutanese have a shelter and are self-sufficient to a large extent. With rapid modernization the living standard of the people has also started to grow in recent years. Every village has now access to basic amenities such as Schools, Basic Health Units, feeder roads and electricity.
The main crops are rice, maize, wheat and buckwheat while cash crops are predominantly potatoes, apples, and citrus such as oranges, cardamom, ginger, and chili. With the setting up of a fruit based industry in the capital, farmers from the nearby areas are able to market their fruit products and thereby earn additional revenue.


The ministry of agriculture and forests over the past four decades was concerned about “how to grow” by establishing various agriculture infrastructure. Currently, the ministry has established four main Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) research centres.


Now there is a growing tendency to go for cash crops like apple in the temperate north; oranges, areca nut and cardamom in the subtropical south. Other cash crops exported include ginger, chilies and vegetables. Strategies to increase livestock and cereal production include propagation and practice of double cropping of paddy production and distribution of high yield varieties. In the livestock sector, artificial insemination covers not onlu thje Jersey breeds that are high yielding but also for the production of Jatsa and Jatsam that are local high yielding varieties. As a result, increasing number of farms is mechanized with sizable investment on machinery and other inputs that are subsidized by the government (Statistical Year Book of Bhutan, 2013). According to Labour Force Survey, 2012, agriculture sector employs over 60 percent of the total employed persons.


Given the rich bio-diversity, Bhutanese have also been able to tap the forestry resources. Cane and bamboo works therefore form a source of income. Various cane and bamboo products now find their way into the market that is usually bought by the urban dwellers and the tourists.


In the recent years, however, a major contributing factor to the Bhutanese economy has been the tourism industry. Since its opening in 1975, the country has made significant expansion in tourism industry. It not only generates the much needed revenue for Bhutan, but to an extent has been able to create employment for most Bhutanese graduates and the educated lot.


The hydro- power sector has been the biggest contributor to the Bhutanese exchequer. The Chhukha Hydro Power Corporation, the Tala Hydro Power Corporation, the Basochu Hydro Power Corporation and the Kurichu Hydro Power Corporation under the umbrella of Druk Green Power Corporation are some of the mega projects that churn out about 1500 MW of power, most of which are exported to our neighboring country India. With abundant water resources, Bhutan still has the capacity to generate about 30,000 MW of electricity and Puna-tsangchu and Mangdechu hydro-power projects are two major projects under construction.


Another sector that contributes to the revenue is the manufacturing sector. With the industrial sector established in Pasakha, some of the small scale industries that have come up are cement plants, calcium and carbide, steel and Ferro silicon, coca cola and also wood based industries.


As a result of the economic development, with US $ 1,321, today we have one of the highest per capita incomes in South Asia.


Testimonials Sometimes a packaged holiday comes so much with a predefined set of takeaways, but The Destination Bhutan offered so much freedom of choice that it did not feel like a packaged holiday at all.

KH Zaman
Buffalo, New York

View All