Gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to agri­cul­ture sec­tor

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Tsh­er­ing Tashi

The third an­nual re­port of Ly­onchen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay on the state of Tsa-Wa-Sum which was pre­sented in the Na­tional Assem­bly last Tues­day, shows that gov­ern­ment com­mit­ments more on agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

Ly­onchen said that agri­cul­ture is the back­bone of our na­tion. It en­sures eco­nomic growth, peo­ple’s liveli­hood and so­cial sta­bil­ity. 62% of our pop­u­la­tion de­pends on farm­ing and un­less we grow enough food, we can­not be­come sel­f­re­liant.

As of last year agri­cul­ture con­trib­uted 16.2% of the Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct and for the first time it has made a good progress with a 3% growth rate.

Gov­ern­ment aims to in­crease the growth rate by means of ce­real pro­duc­tion, hor­ti­cul­ture and cash crops. To im­prove ac­ces­si­bil­ity and con­nect peo­ple with mar­ket, within the pe­riod of two years the gov­ern­ment has con­structed 730.80km of farm roads. This year alone 131 new farm roads mea­sur­ing 657 km were con­structed and to en­sure farm roads ac­ces­si­ble at all times, 112 farm roads mea­sur­ing 427km were ren­o­vated.

Over 100 km ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nel has been built dur­ing the last two years. This year 12 schemes of 125km ben­e­fit­ting 3840 acres of over 1746 house­holds will be built. Two ma­jor ren­o­va­tion schemes in­clude the 11.4km Buyang ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nel at Tashiyangtse and 7km Tak­lai ir­ri­ga­tion scheme. Oth­ers in­clude 6.83km Kuchi Diana ir­ri­ga­tion scheme in Yoe­seltse Ge­wog , Samtse, which will ben­e­fit 1043 acres of land for over 300 house­holds. These three schemes will pro­vide wa­ter to about 7743 acres of land which will help to boost agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tiv­ity. In ad­di­tion 145km of ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nel is be­ing ren­o­vated, which would ben­e­fit 1041 house­holds and 4665 acres of land.

The gov­ern­ment has es­tab­lished 13 farm ma­chin­ery hir­ing units with 89 trac­tors, 174 power tillers and other ma­chiner­ies. While 4600 acres of land will be un­der mech­a­niza­tion and ev­ery ge­wog has been pro­vided with one power tiller each. The gov­ern­ment also aims to pro­vide one power tiller to ev­ery Chi­wog and one util­ity ve­hi­cle to each ge­wog by the end of 2015.

In all the 20 Dzongkhags, a to­tal of 477.17km of elec­tric fenc­ing has been built, ben­e­fit­ing more than 3479 house­holds. In the years to come gov­ern­ment plans to build 485 km more of elec­tric fenc­ing but with con­di­tion that the ben­e­fi­cia­ries main­tain it which oth­er­wise will not work in a year.

To pro­mote off-sea­son veg­etable pro­duc­tion and en­hance nurs­ery pro­duc­tion, 176 green­houses have been in­stalled and have plans to sup­port 650 more green houses.

In live­stock sec­tor the gov­ern­ment ex­panded 13 live­stock cen­ters and plans to up­grade and ex­pand live­stock cen­ters in next fis­cal year by in­vest­ing Nu. 87.786M. So that

live­stock cen­ters will be able to pro­vide in­puts like calves, piglets, poul­try in­put in­clud­ing day old chicks and fin­ger­ling to our farm­ers.

In or­der to over­come the con­straints of fi­nance in agri­cul­ture sec­tor, 19 ge­wog banks have been es­tab­lished by Bhutan De­vel­op­ment Bank Lim­ited so far. By the end of June this year 50 more banks will be es­tab­lished and by the end of next year each Ge­wog will have a bank each.

With the es­tab­lish­ment of Busi­ness Op­por­tu­nity and In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre (BOIC), farm­ers have availed loan and so far 1211 projects amount­ing Nu. 338M has been ap­proved, while 1953 more ap­pli­cants are still in pend­ing. Farm­ers are ea­ger to avail the loans but the ap­pli­ca­tions need to be pro­cessed prop­erly. All this has been achieved in barely ten months af­ter the BOIC has gone op­er­a­tional.

To ad­dress the is­sue of ac­cess to mar­ket out­let, farm shops will be in­tro­duced to sell their pro­duce like seeds, fer­til­iz­ers, an­i­mal feeds and farm­ing tools, be­sides selling farm shops will also buy pro­duce from farm­ers. The first farm shop was in­au­gu­rated in Se­phu Ge­wog and at the end of the year it is ex­pected that there would be 74 more farm shops.

The Gov­ern­ment Per­for­mance Manange­ment Sys­tem (GPMS) An­nual Per­for­mance Agree­ment (APA) with all the Dzongkhags fo­cuses mainly in the de­vel­op­ment of agri­cul­tural sec­tor and gov­ern­ment ex­pects the agri­cul­tural out­put to grow sig­nif­i­cantly in the com­ing years. The gov­ern­ment ex­pects the agri­cul­ture out­put to grow sig­nif­i­cantly in the com­ing years.

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