239 power tillers handed over by the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment

Bhutan Times - - Home - Pema Choki/ Paro

Ly­onchen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay and the of­fi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment, Mr. Kikuta Yu­taka , the Deputy Chief of Mission, Em­bassy of Ja­pan in New Delhi for­mally graced the hand­ing and tak­ing over cer­e­mony of Ja­panese Grant 2KR (KR-II 2013) of the Ja­panese fi­nan­cial year 2013 at the Agri­cul­ture Ma­chin­ery Cen­tre in Paro last Thurs­day.

The Gov­ern­ment of Ja­pan pro­vided Nu. 63.49 mil­lion un­der the KR-II grant which com­prises 239 units of power tillers. Out of which, 135 power tillers will be al­lo­cated to all the Gewogs un­der 14 Dzongkhags of Bumthang, Chukha, Da­gana, Gasa, Haa, Paro, Pu­nakha, Samtse, Sarpang, Thim­phu, Trongsa, Tsir­ang, Wang­due and Zhem­gang.

The grant pro­vided un­der food se­cu­rity project for un­der­priv­i­leged farm­ers was for­mal­ized and notes were signed and ex­changed be­tween Mr. Kikuta Yu­taka and Mr. Karma Dorji, Offtg. Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Forests in pres­ence of the Prime Min­is­ter.

Ad­dress­ing the gath­er­ing dur­ing the hand­ing tak­ing cer­e­mony Lyon- ch­hen said that farm mechanization has been in­stru­men­tal in en­abling Bhutanese farm­ers to in­crease their pro­duc­tion of sta­ple food crops, mainly rice, wheat and maize. He em­pathized that due to in­creas­ing labour short­age in ru­ral ar­eas , power tillers have en­abled farm mechanization and greatly re­duced the drudgery of farm­ing. The util­ity of the power tiller is fur­ther op­ti­mized with its ad­di­tional use for trans­porta­tion pur­poses by farm­ers.

“Although agri­cul­ture is at the core of the coun­try’s so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment, con­tribut­ing to 16% of the coun­try’s GDP and em­ploys 56% of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion, the sec­tor is faced with nu­mer­ous prob­lems - frag­mented land hold­ings, dom­i­nant sub­sis­tence farm­ing, in­ad­e­quate ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties, non-mech­a­nized farm­ing prac­tices, low pro­duc­tiv­ity etc. How­ever, I am pleased to share with you some en­cour­ag­ing statis­tics to give you an idea about the dif­fer­ence brought about by farm mech­a­ni­sa­tion (though this Grant As­sis­tance) has made in our cur­rent farm­ing prac­tices – From a case study con­ducted by the Re­gional Agri­cul­tural Ma­chin­ery Cen­tre in 2014, there has been a 15 per­cent in­crease in the rice yield with the use of power tillers as com­pared to man­ual plough and the cost of pro­duc­tion of rice has re­duced by 48.8 per­cent. Th­ese in­cre­men­tal gains would go a long way in en­abling the Royal Gov­ern­ment to in­crease food pro­duc­tion in Bhutan and meet its goal of food se­cu­rity and to sus­tain over­all eco­nomic growth.” Ly­onchen added.

As KRII Grant as­sis­tance en­ables the gov­ern­ment to strengthen the agri­cul­tural sec­tor and en­hance its per­for­mance. It has the po­ten­tial to change and up­lift the lives of more than half of Bhutan’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion and there­fore, as­sis­tance in the agricul- ture sec­tor is deeply val­ued and ap­pre­ci­ated, both by the peo­ple and the Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan and the Ly­onch­hen thanked the Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe of Ja­pan for his pos­i­tive re­sponse to his re­quest to pro­vide 1450 power tillers to Bhutan dur­ing his visit to Ja­pan in June-July last year.

The Gov­ern­ment and Peo­ple of Ja­pan have been grant­ing this KR-II grant since 1984 and Bhutan has re­ceived grant as­sis­tance for 25 times in­clud­ing KR-II Grant of Ja­panese fi­nan­cial year 2013 which amounts to Nu. 1803.32M and 3,186 units of power tiller. The Gov­ern­ment of Ja­pan hopes that this grant as­sis­tance would strengthen ca­pac­ity of farm­ers and help mechanization and mod­ern­iza­tion of agri­cul­ture in Bhutan, and also con­trib­ute to fur­ther strength­en­ing of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two coun­tries.

Farm mechanization sup­ported by the Ja­panese grant is one of the main in­ter­ven­tions aimed to re­al­ize the ob­jec­tive of our gov­ern­ment’s noble pol­icy of food se­cu­rity and self­suf­fi­ciency. The grant re­ceived in the form of farm ma­chines since 1984, have helped tremen­dously to al­le­vi­ate labour con­straint and drudgery in the farm­ing com­mu­nity.

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