The GAFSP Public Sector Window is also funding the Food Security and Accelerated Poverty Reduction project in Bhutan.
The project is expected to reach 15,000 farmer households, mostly located in Bhutan’s poorer eastern regions. Farmers will grow hazelnuts to generate income on degraded, unused land, which would otherwise be left barren. Farmers cannot replace existing crops with hazelnuts which makes the income derived from hazelnuts as entirely incremental. These additional earnings from hazelnuts sales are projected to eventually double the household incomes of a large portion of participating farmers. Including all farmer household dependents, this translates into a project impact of approximately 15 percent of Bhutan’s population.
Linking Farmers to Markets
The project will support the development of an organized marketing system for hazelnuts produced by smallholder farmers. The farmers involved in this project will gain market access and be integrated into an international supply chain.
The project will create over 400 additional jobs at MHV and expand linkages with approximately 1,200 entrepreneurs offering support services. Female employment is expected to triple and grow from 29 percent to 50 percent.
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Forest Preservation
Up to 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide will be sequestered over the productive lifetime of the targeted nearly 11 million hazelnut trees. Annual pruning of these trees will also provide a sustainable source of fuel wood, instead of logging natural forests.