According to Countryaah, agriculture at the self-sufficiency level is the dominant industry in Bhutan. The most important crops are rice, maize, wheat, barley and potatoes. Buckwheat and millet are grown with sweat. Fruit is the main forage crop. Rice is imported, as domestic production does not meet the need. Most farmers keep livestock: hunt and sheep at the higher levels, cattle, pigs and chickens elsewhere.
More than half of the country’s area is covered by forest. Timber is an important export product, and a developed forest industry is one of Bhutan’s most important potential sources of income. The state-organized forestry is characterized by high ecological awareness, and comparatively large funds are invested in education and replanting. Nevertheless, the pressure on the environment can be great. In the mountainous regions, the population is small in relation to the total area. However, it can be large in relation to the cultivable area, three to four times larger than in the lowlands. The cultivation is therefore forced up on steeper slopes, which causes loss of forest and soil, followed by rapid drainage and flooding.
The country is rich in biodegradable natural resources, but only small quantities are extracted for environmental reasons. Mainly, coal, copper and calcium carbide are extracted, the latter being one of the country’s most important export products. Bhutan has several hydropower plants, and the country exports electrical energy to, among other things. India. Furthermore, there are a few cement factories and a growing number of small industries, mainly for processing forest and agricultural products. A high-quality craft produces fabrics, forged silver objects and wood carvings.
Business is very strongly linked to India. The country’s balance of payments is entirely dependent on foreign aid, which also comes largely from India.