The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests is the competent authority for biosecurity and food safety systems to promote the quality and safety of food and agricultural related products. The BAFRA was officially established as the Quality Control and Regulatory Services (QCRS) in August 2000.
The BAFRA Head Office is located near the Tashichhodzong and within the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests Office complex.
The BAFRA is headed by the Director General and the agency has two divisions -Quality Control and Quarantine Division (QCQD) and Analytical and Certification Division (ACD). Apart from the head office, BAFRA has field offices in 20 Dzongkhags, Dungkhags, major entry points, minor entry points and other branch offices including the National Food Testing Laboratory (NFTL) at Yusipang, Thimphu.
Management Board (MB):
The BAFRA is governed by a Management Board (MBBAFRA). The MBBAFRA represents the Royal Government’s sincere intention to promote the quality and safety of goods and products related to the Ministry and its clients. Therefore, the composition of the MBBAFRA reflects the interests of stakeholders and key actors. The MBBAFRA is represented by the relevant Departments and Agencies within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. Other external members include the Heads of Department of Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Department of Revenue and Customs, Ministry of Finance and Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (representing the private sector). The Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture and Forests is the Chair of the MBBAFRA and the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests as Vice Chair and the Director General, BAFRA, MoAF as the Member Secretary.
Permits and Certificates:
BAFRA carries out inspection and certification of food and agricultural goods and products to ensure its quality and safety and also to facilitate trade and increase market access. For any import or export of food and agricultural goods and products, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) permits need to be obtained from BAFRA prior to importation or exportation. Similarly, for the movement of plants, animals and their products within the country, an in-country movement permit can be obtained from the nearest BAFRA offices.
The following are the major official entry and exit points for import and export inspection and certification that are manned by the BAFRA field officials:
- Paro International Airport
- Quality Control and Quarantine Division (QCQD)
- Analytical and Certification Division (ACD)
The BAFRA functions with following staff categories:
- General administration and management personnel
- Regulatory and Quarantine personnel for livestock section
- Regulatory and Quarantine personnel for plant section
- Regulatory and Quarantine personnel for food section
- Laboratory services personnel
- Elementary service personnel (ESPs)
Today, BAFRA has a total of 197 staff.