Exploring the alternative

To put it aptly, rural people have access to banks, but no access to loans or finance. Perhaps, it’s this notion that hydropower and tourism sectors would be the solution to all our problems that we have forgotten this most rudimentary and essential sector. Agriculture could be our alternative.

It’s quite ironical but none the less true. Rhetorically, we claim ourselves as an agrarian society and that about 70 percent of the population thrives on agriculture, but investment or support in terms of access to finance in this sector is ostensibly negligible.

Take for example the lending from financial institutions to the agricultural sector. It’s a meager four percent. The predicament of our rural folks in such a scenario is to thus lend money from a few loan sharks back in the village after paying exorbitant interest rate. This has been happening and continues to do so even now. Some pay as high as 30 percent interest.

MDG : Bhutan : farmers transplanting rice shoots into rice paddies in Paro valley,

While it’s definitely helping the farmers in the short term especially during the time of death, crop damages, insurance payment, but it has its nemesis too. Rural farmers are being exploited. Money lenders eventually end up at the borrower’s farm and sometimes take away all that they find.

Even if there were drawbacks, informal money lending is proving to be more beneficial in rural areas. Such system in the villages apparently helps them to get direct access to finance without having to worry about collateral and banking rigmarole.

Indubitably, we could also contemplate whether the agricultural sector is getting the due it deserves. Why such a meager lending to this sector which claims to be the source of livelihood for a majority of the country’s people? It’s also time to revisit some of the modalities of the financial institutions in the country.

While there has been a proliferation of banks recently in terms of numbers, but little has it helped rural farmers in terms of access to loans. Banking red tape and the need for mortgage or collateral are norms with any bank in the country. Similarly, while branches are being taken to most remote places, but the interest rates levied by the banks are really not different from each other.

To put it aptly, rural people have access to banks, but no access to loans or finance. Perhaps, it’s this notion that hydropower and tourism sectors would be the solution to all our problems that we have forgotten this most rudimentary and essential sector. Agriculture could be our alternative.

Lobzang Dorji


Related Posts

Seven women choose farming to vocational training

A farming group made of seven class 10 graduates in Norbugang, Pemagatshel have started cultivating paddy

Aug 15, 2017 15:27

Accreditation Of Colleges in Bhutan

An institution is graded on six core elements such as the curriculum, research and innovation, institutional linkage,...

Jan 16, 2018 11:05

VAST-Yangtse has VAST Ambitions

The VAST-Yangtse, also known as Visual Artists Studio of Trashiyangtse is non-profit art club founded by two art...

Jan 15, 2018 09:01

Man-made Pond Invites Black-Necked Cranes

Developed by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) last September, the pond ensures the safety of the winged...

Jan 10, 2018 16:52

Harvard Alumni from 14 Nations Discover Happiness in Bhutan

We have been deeply humbled by the kindness with which Bhutan has welcomed us and the generosity with which its people...

Jan 08, 2018 07:34

A Sanctuary for Animals in RSPCA Bhutan

As a young child, Tashi would hide the strays and keep them safe when dog catchers were sent to deal with the...

Jan 05, 2018 10:57

Latest

News

Bhutan Achieved 93% Youth Literacy Rate

93 percent of the students attend public schools, but the proportion of students attending public school decreases at higher education...

Jan 13, 2018 11:50

Japan Provides 353 More Power Tillers

The Ambassador of Japan to Bhutan, Kenji Hiramatsu handed over 353 sets of power tillers and accessories worth Nu 137 million to the...

Jan 11, 2018 14:18

Features

Accreditation Of Colleges in Bhutan

An institution is graded on six core elements such as the curriculum, research and innovation, institutional linkage, management,...

Jan 16, 2018 11:05

VAST-Yangtse has VAST Ambitions

The VAST-Yangtse, also known as Visual Artists Studio of Trashiyangtse is non-profit art club founded by two art enthusiasts – Mr Jigme...

Jan 15, 2018 09:01

Sports

Air Pistol Shooting in Bhutan

“I saw the sport on television. I did not know that it would be an interesting experience. It helps us improve breathing and concentration....

Jan 14, 2018 10:44

Martial Arts Gaining Popularity with Bhutanese Youth

The President of BIMA, Damber Singh Rai, said that the programme is aimed at engaging students during the winter break. “It is an exercise...

Jan 06, 2018 08:58

Business

Year Round Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation in Bhutan

An entrepreneur in Bhutan invents solar and electric incubator for year round Shiitake mushroom cultivation.

Jan 12, 2018 13:33

​Bhutan is the 3rd Fastest Growing Economy in 2017

Lyonchhen said that if one went by The Economist ‘World in numbers’ figures, then Bhutan is predicted to be the fastest growing economy in...

Jan 03, 2018 11:36

Travel

Journey to the Fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya

Chimi Wangmo, based in Thimphu, traversed through beautiful landscapes to witness the fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya.

Dec 07, 2017 09:18

Dochula Tschechu – Truly Captivating!

What makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique is that while the mask dances performed elsewhere in Bhutan are centred around religious...

Nov 24, 2017 05:19

Lifestyle

Gyalsey, the Legacy of a Prince

In the 15 years of my life, the funniest yet saddest movie I have ever watched is Gyalsey, the legacy of a prince. Aired first in 2012, this...

Jan 09, 2018 07:10

Clove Bistro - Keeps You Coming Back!

The Clove has some amazing dishes, although the portions are not huge. This bistro makes a nice place to meet friends or to have a...

Dec 18, 2017 14:31

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!