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Food Security and Agriculture Productivity (FSAPP)

$8 million to raise agricultural output through improved irrigation, water management, farm mechanization, and adoption of agriculture production technology.
Curt Carnemark/World Bank


Bhutan is a small landlocked nation located in an ecologically risky area high in the Himalayan mountain range, with diverse ecosystems and one of the highest proportion of forest in Asia. However, the amount of arable land is only 8% of the total land area, while areas under cultivation are only about 3%. Large areas are exposed to monsoons, floods, droughts, landslides, and earthquakes. Over a third of Bhutan’s poor live in rural areas, and almost 70% of the rural population are engaged in subsistence farming. These areas are very isolated, with nearly three-quarters of these households living hours or a day walking distance from the nearest road. The agriculture sector is dominated by smallholder subsistence farmers who occupy the majority of the arable land and produce most of the crop and livestock products – however more men and young people are migrating to urban areas, leading to the femininization of the sector. 


FSAPP increases agricultural productivity and enhances market linkages among a target of 52,000 poor people (30 percent women) in select rural districts in southwest Bhutan. The project supports the government’s efforts to reduce rural poverty and high levels of malnutrition through CSA productivity enhancement for food and nutrition security and to increase farmers’ access to local and export markets, particularly for key high-value crops. It addresses the interconnected problems that farmers and rural households face through a set of integrated, consolidated, area-specific interventions that respond to local constraints, potential, and priorities. The project also supports productivity enhancement of food crops such as rice, maize, potato, vegetables, and pulses and possibly of quinoa, high-value crops (e.g., spices, especially large cardamom and ginger), citrus, apples, and potatoes. Key activities include strengthening producers’ groups; developing irrigation, including on-farm sprinkler and drip systems; providing improved agri-inputs and farm equipment; and supporting home-grown school feeding programs. 

Project Status



  • Bhutan



Focus area

  • Climate Change
  • Gender
  • Nutrition

Supervising entity

  • World Bank


To date, the project has benefitted 33,510 people, of whom 50 percent are women. In the first phase of the project, FSAPP has reached the following milestones:

  • Equipped 245 hectares with new irrigation and drainage services
  • Enhanced productivity of 23,509 smallholders, including 11,731 women
  • Constructed 68 water harvesting structures, such as silpaulin-lined water storage structures
  • Provided more than 1,200 black pepper seedlings to farmer fields that will serve as suppliers for black pepper in the larger area
  • Trained project implementers on climate-resilient agriculture techniques and farmers on how to construct protected agriculture structures (polyhouses) and carry out staggered sowing techniques
  • Completed construction of two of the four planned high-density polyethylene irrigation schemes.
  • Promoted micro-irrigation technologies, such as drip-irrigation sets, for seasonal kitchen gardening.


In the next phase of the project, the focus will be on strengthening producer groups and exploring new market linkages, in particular to the school feeding program.