Bhutan is a country that is not known for its exports. Last year their total exports were only $350 million. Nearly all of that was energy exports to India, yet they have a lot more potential for agriculture exports. The majority of their workforce is in the agriculture industry, but currently it is not one of their exporting strengths. That is where hazelnuts come in. Hazelnuts could be the future of exporting for Bhutan.
Mr. Daniel K. Spitzer, the chairman of Mountain Hazelnut Venture, plans to plant enough hazelnut trees to produce up to 40,000 tons of hazelnuts in the hills of Bhutan. He chose Bhutan because he sees a lot of potential in the land and the people.
The hazelnut trees will first begin to grow in labs in China and will then be shipped to the rural areas of Bhutan to be planted. In Bhutan there is a strong tradition of family farming which is intended to continue with the hazelnut tress. With this new crop, there will be more job opportunities for these families. They also plan to export a significant percentage of these hazelnuts. Both of these things will help to stimulate the local economy.
Over 60% of Bhutan’s workforce is in the agricultural industry yet most of their exports are not. There are definitely opportunities to utilize their strength in agriculture on an international level. The hope is that the hazelnut tree farms will play towards this strength and combine it with Spitzer’s international business knowledge to create a dynamic relationship to increase Bhutan’s exports.