Social Capital cultivates “Fruits of Happiness” in Eastern Bhutan

AUTHOR: Jigme Phuntsho, Sho Takanoz

ABSTRACT

Bhutan is an agrarian economy where agriculture sector provides employment to about 58% of the total employed persons. However, farmers were found to be the least GNH happy from the result of the 2015 GNH Survey conducted by the Centre for Bhutan Studies and the Gross National Commission with assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In order to improve this sector, the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) in collaboration with JICA implemented a five-year horticulture project t(2010-2015) called Horticulture Research and Development Project (HRDP) covering six eastern dzongkhags. Based on the secondary data of HRDP-GNH Survey 2016, this paper aimed at studying the impacts of the project on the three dimensions of social capital – bonding, bridging, and linking social capital at both micro and macro level linkages. Quantitative data indicated that HRDP has made a significant impact on social networks, norms of reciprocity, social trust and identity, and numerous forms of social contribution. In effect, these results can play a vital role in the project’s long term success since the project is in its early life-cycle stage. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that future agriculture projects apply the social capital oriented approach of HRDP to enhance farmers’ happiness in the country.

KEYWORD:

GNH, Social capital (Bonding, Bridging and Linking)

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