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Bhutan Journal of Natural Resources and Development

College of Natural Resources


Agricultural Diversification and Rural Incomes in the Presence of Climate Change in Central-Western Bhutan

Gensits, Bryan .C;  Chhetri, Rekha.;  , Tshotsho.; 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17102/cnr.2019.01

Abstract

This study draws on prior literature to investigate the risks that climate change poses to Bhutan and how agricultural diversification may alleviate many of these potential detriments. A broad understanding of crop diversification is found to be crucial to the future of Bhutanese agriculture. Using cross-sectional data gathered from a sample of 163 farmers located in the Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhags of central-western Bhutan, this study aimed to understand current crop selection and farmers’ perceptions pertaining to crop choice and climate change. Additionally, four measures of inter- and intra-crop diversification are employed to gain an understanding of richness and relative abundance for both crop species and rice varieties. It was found that there is a clear misalignment between what vegetable, fruit, and rice varieties are most prevalent and what generates the most income based on land use. Crop richness is found to be high, but relative abundance is quite low. Combined with farmers’ recognition that climate change, water scarcity, and income generation potential are major factors influencing crop choice, opportunities to promote certain high-value and less water-intensive crops are identified. Encouraging land reallocation for such crops will act to increase diversification, rural incomes, and climate resilience.



Keywords

Bhutan, crop choice, crop profitability, farm diversification, rural incomes

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