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How has the COVID-19 pandemic response impacted small-scale fish farmers in Bhutan?


Dorji, N and Yamazaki, S and Thinley, P, How has the COVID-19 pandemic response impacted small-scale fish farmers in Bhutan?, Aquaculture, 562 Article 738781. ISSN 0044-8486 (2023) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.aquaculture.2022.738781


The COVID-19 pandemic and related policy responses have exacerbated global food and nutrition insecurity by disrupting supply chains and destroying livelihoods. Previous studies show that the impact has been particularly severe for poor populations with limited livelihood options, who already faced food insecurity before the pandemic struck. This paper describes how COVID-19-related policy responses have impacted low-income, subsistence-oriented fish farmers in Bhutan. Based on nationally representative data collected between November 2020 and January 2021, the paper documents the responses of 353 Bhutanese fish farmers to the altered operating conditions and market disruptions caused by COVID-19. Results indicate that these farmers' access to inputs such as fish seed have suffered substantial disruptions. However, on the output side of the supply chain, some farmers have made significant gains in terms of increased demand and higher fish prices in informal markets. Furthermore, the food security of most farmers has suffered minimal impact. Overall, Bhutanese fish farmers have proved to be robust to COVID-19-induced adverse outcomes relative to commercial aquaculture producers elsewhere. Small-scale, subsistence-oriented production of fish along with other crops has benefitted the Bhutanese fish farmers by shielding them from the negative economic outcomes associated with market shocks and by directly preserving their food security. Nevertheless, the fish farmers require critical support to access essential inputs and upscale or maintain production infrastructure, so that they can continue fish production during the COVID-19 pandemic and become more robust in the long run.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Bhutan, small-scale aquaculture, COVID-19, policy responses, disruptions, robustness
Research Division:Economics
Research Group:Applied economics
Research Field:Agricultural economics
Objective Division:Economic Framework
Objective Group:Microeconomics
Objective Field:Preference, behaviour and welfare
UTAS Author:Dorji, N (Mr Namgay Dorji)
UTAS Author:Yamazaki, S (Associate Professor Satoshi Yamazaki)
ID Code:153172
Year Published:2023
Deposited By:Economics
Deposited On:2022-09-10
Last Modified:2022-11-01

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