Government committed to agriculture sector
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.