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Bhutan being a mountainous country with a very scattered rural population, it is important that farmers create cooperatives to market their products. This helps to reduce transport and transaction costs and allows farmers to offer huge quantities of agricultural products which interest traders - an important step towards market access and income opportunities. This also helps service providers to reach out to farmers in more effective ways.

The Cooperatives Rules and Regulations of Bhutan, 2010, covers all aspects of cooperative development such as registration, monitoring, mediation and conciliation as well as the provision of legal advice and services related to research, education and information. It also covers the registration of informal Farmers Groups.

SNV supported the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) to develop a master plan for capacity building of farmer groups and cooperatives targeting all levels (central, Dzongkhags, Geogs and farmers). 200 registered FGs and 50 registered Primary Cooperatives were initially targeted within the 10th FYP, and later doubled under the Accelerated Bhutan’s Socio-Economic Development (ABSD) programme. By March 2012, the number of registered cooperatives and groups included 13 cooperatives and 60 fully registered farmer groups and 210 groups with provisional certificates.

SNV Solutions

Since 2009, SNV has supported DAMC in taking a structured approach to the promotion of groups and cooperatives, and supported the set-up of systems for promotion and registration, as well as development of a well-thought through capacity building approach.

SNV Services

  • Development of guidelines for registration of groups and cooperatives for the agricultural extension workers, as there are no DAMC staff present at district or geog level
  • Development of strategies to strengthen the cooperative sector, including ‘Comprehensive Development Strategy for Farmers Groups and Cooperatives in Bhutan (Volume I and II)’, ‘Master Plan for Capacity Building of Farmer Groups and Cooperatives’
  • Development of training manuals to support the implementation of the Capacity Building Master Plan, covering topics such as governance, leadership, financial management, business planning, etc
  • Design of Information Systems to support the cooperative sector development, including a Marketing Information System (IVR telephone based and web-based), and a cooperative information system (not yet operational)
  • Supporting the role out of the Capacity Building Master Plan: monitoring of service providers, updating strategies and manuals.


Up to 500 farmer groups, cooperatives, NTFP groups are to be strengthened through the capacity building master plan, and thereby livelihood opportunities are increased for more than 10.000 households.

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