buthanBhutan is a tiny, landlocked South Asian country located between China and India, at the eastern end of the Himalayas. Its population is about 740,000, and the name of the capital is Thimphu. This is most probably the only country in the world, which follows Gross National Happiness (GNH) instead of the universally followed Gross National Product (GNP) as a tool to measure a country’s progress. Bhutan is administratively divided into 20 districts (Dzongkhags). There are also urban municipalities (thromdes) and village blocks (geogs). The country’s economy is built around agriculture, forestry, tourism, and the export of hydroelectric power to the neighboring India.

Context

Context

The country has a rugged topography, with steep slopes. Its southern region is a subtropical plain while the northern region has very high mountains. About 70% of the land area is covered by forests, and more than 79% of the population lives on subsistence agriculture. Most of the farmers have an average landholding of about 1.3 hectares that is uneven and full of steep slopes. Farming in Bhutan depends on rain and is labor intensive. Main crops are paddy, wheat, maize, buckwheat, potatoes and barley. Rearing of cattle is  also common. In recent years, Bhutan has gained fame for its passion for and commitment to organic farming.

Key Statistics and Indicators

Indicator

Value

Year  

Agricultural land (sq km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)

5,200

13.54

95,400

2.48

0.13

2011

2011

2011

2011

2011

Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)

31.94

2009

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

15.08

100.48

8.45

10.94

2012

2011

2011

2011

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

2,420

2012

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

52.81

67.96

80.04

84.91

105.30

2005

2005

2005

2005

2012

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)

65.58

21

2011

2011

Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*

741,822

18.99

472,239

63.65

N.A.

369,673

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

2012

2011

2012

2012

2011

Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations  FAO

Acknowledgements

  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (July 2013)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson

 

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