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Allegheny College

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


Agricultural occupations make up the largest proportion of Bhutan’s workforce. Over the past two decades the occupation has shrunk from 90% to 65% of Bhutan’s employment. The younger generation of Bhutan’s rural population is seeking livelihood opportunities in urban areas, leaving farms with labor shortages. The movement may compromise the identity and sustainability of Bhutan’s rural population and undermine the nation’s goals of Gross National Happiness (GNH) directed policy. Initiatives to retain and legitimize agricultural livelihoods are emerging inside and outside of government policy. Existing efforts are models of ways to reconnect educated individuals with the needs and values of rural farming communities, integrating diversified agricultural livelihoods into traditional structures. Farmers Groups and Cooperatives are being widely promoted throughout Bhutan and have the potential to maintain community agriculture interactions with, and valuation of the local landscape. Organic agriculture is an emerging alternative livelihood for educated individuals and new entrepreneurs to contribute to agricultural production, though in adapted ways. This study analyzes the possible effects of the urbanizing movement on the agricultural sustainability of Bhutan and efforts to creatively adapt traditional agricultural for a modernizing younger generation and country


Agribusiness | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agriculture | Asian Studies | Rural Sociology | Sustainability | Work, Economy and Organizations


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