Agriculture ministry scales down performance targets
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) has achieved seven of the total 74 targets while 60 targets are on track and seven at risk.
The ministry received Nu.2.05 billion of the total Nu.3.9 billion approved by the government for the fiscal year 2016 to 2017.
That was what the agriculture secretary Rinzin Dorji reported in the mid-year progress review meeting on the Annual Performance Agreements (APA) on 9 January in Thimphu.
The agriculture sector, faced with budget constraints, proposed that the targets of APA be decreased for want of budget.
The ministry has a maize production target of 96,106 metric tons (MT) at the end of the plan, of which the target has been revised to 84,661 MT. Rinzin Dorji said, “There are reports on crop damage by wild animals, hailstorm and other natural calamities.”
The wheat production target was at 8,043 MT. However, it was revised to 5,000 MT. The ministry reported that it was because of competition from other more economical crops and less interest from the farmers.
The potato production target of 50,000 MT was revised to 62,952 MT per annum. The secretary said that the ministry had received report on crop damage by frost and hailstorm, and rotting from major potato growing dzongkhag, including Wangdue, Chukha and Haa. He said, “It was because of heavy monsoon.”
The target of mushroom production was also reduced from 113 MT to 60 MT. The establishment of laboratory facilities after the National Mushroom Centre shifted from Yusipang to Wangchutaba, he said, had affected the spawn because of lack of lab facilities and budget. The centre also faced budget constraints.
However, the minister for foreign affairs, Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, said that instead of reducing the targets, it is important to continue working to fulfill them. “Reduction is not important but it is important to resolve the problems to increase the next cropping,” he said.
The ministry also reduced the length of assured irrigation channel constructed and rehabilitated. From 197.6 km, the target was revised to 66 km by June this year.
Rinzin Dorji said that non-availability of budget was reported during the 11 FYP mid-year reviews. He reported only 11km as work in progress from the spillover activity budget.
The minister of agriculture, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, said that the budget issue was true with the major projects that the ministry was carrying out. He said there were many minor irrigation channels built by local government.
Human-wildlife conflict management committee established target of 36 numbers but the budget made available and could be replaced by compensation scheme or postponed to next fiscal year. The ministry reported that there was no approved budget for the FY 20162017.
Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay noted that the main reduction was because of budget constraints. “We will discuss with the ministry of finance and related agencies on the general issues,” he said.
He also said that the need of budget on the construction of irrigation channels would be discussed with the agriculture minister and finance minister.
The mid-year review exercise expects to monitor implementation progress of the annual performance agreements of respective ministries and agencies.
The review meeting deliberated on solutions to address the issues and problems submitted by the agencies and agreed on incorporating these solutions to ensure effective delivery of the signed APAs in the remaining months of the fiscal year.
It was aimed to provide pro-active support to ministries, agencies, dzongkhags and thromdes in achieving the APA targets and also to flag areas of concern for timely corrective measures.
The 10 ministries and seven autonomous agencies presented the midyear review chaired by prime minister with the cabinet ministers, secretaries, heads of departments and autonomous agencies, and other senior government officials.
The mid-year review of the 20 dzongkhags and four thromdes is also expected to be carried out in January.
The APA was conducted by Government Performance Management Division (GPMD) under the office of the prime minister and cabinet.
The 10 ministries, seven autonomous agencies and 20 dzongkhags had signed APA with the Prime Minister in July 2016.