The increased school enrolment of children and youths has brought about a situation where an increasing number of young people, including school leavers, are without gainful employment. Agriculture still offers the maximum employment opportunities in Bhutan but Bhutanese farmers are getting older day by day. Therefore Rural Development Training (RDT) is geared towards inviting youths to join skills trainings that allow them to gainfully employ themselves and contribute to nation building based on agriculture. RDTC will initially focus more on the existing farmers to improve their farming practices whilst the youth will be slowly introduced to the potential and nature of agriculture through awareness creation such as inviting school children to attend practical training during school breaks.
RDTC aims to contribute to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of freeing the people from extreme hunger and poverty for which the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests has chosen the 10th plan development theme as the “Poverty Reduction”.
RDTC believes that knowledge and skills are necessary to empower our farmers to make right choices in their farming enterprises. Once empowered with sufficient knowledge and skills they can judge the true potential of their respective farms and make a meaningful living from agriculture, breaking away from the vicious cycle of poverty.
Institutional Set up
RDTC will function as a non departmental organisation. The RDTC management will be guided by the management board represented by the heads of the organization under the Ministry of Agriculture & Forests and other relevant heads of the organizations. The head of the RDTC will be responsible to the Hon’ble Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
RDTC envisions building up a critical mass of educated farmers interested and capable to participate in the commercial farming on an economically and environmentally sustained basis.
RDTC sees itself as the knowledge centre that is able to meet the skill and knowledge needs of the modern day farmers and contributes to an improved image of the farming profession.
Providing the farmers with easily accessible knowledge and skills that will enhance production of crops and livestock and that makes them able to sell more of their products profitably.
- Providing the farmers with knowledge and skills that will allow them to make best use of existing opportunities for collaboration (farmers groups) and for gainful networking with relevant services.
- Supporting the formation of self help groups and their networking for experience exchange and collaboration in the above mentioned sense.
- Sharing of market and other relevant information
- Enhancing the image of farming by creating awareness about the potential of agriculture for gainful self-employment and meaningful livelihood
The above objectives are packaged into a range of programmes with different focus and target groups as follows:
1. Agricultural skills training programme
- Apprentice Training (ATP): Training of young school leavers (12-15 months- 7weeks of attachment and 8 weeks of schools) who are interested to join farming profession. A training programme consisting of hands on training with the “master farmers” supplemented with theory knowledge and practical imparted in the school. The graduates of this training can join FBT to specialise in certain farm activities.
- Farm Business Training (FBT): short courses (3-6 weeks); enterprise-specific skills on new and existing farm enterprises (crops/horticulture and livestock) with economic potential; offered in decentralised locations; targeted at active farming population or people interested build up a small agri-business
2. Farm Management Programme
- short courses (2-5 days) in sequence, total duration 3-6 weeks; providing practically oriented knowledge of farm enterprise planning, including record keeping/simple accounting, laying base for optimal use of available resources and for (further) market-orientation; targeted at active farm managers/owners.
3. Group management programme
- short courses of 3-5 days duration, various modules covering all aspects of group management viz. planning, meeting management and decision taking, book-keeping/accounting, record keeping, leadership skills, conflict management; can be selected as per need; targeted at active and prospective management members of groups and at interested farmers.
4. Workshops/Seminar and Study Tour Programme
- short tours 1day to 2 weeks; clear focus on specific topics or farm enterprises; stimulating exchange and linkages between farmers with similar interests; targeted at groups of farmers interested in specific enterprise or topic
5. Youth Agriculture Awareness Programme
- short courses during the school breaks and monastic schools, 1-2 weeks; introducing school children to simple, most common agricultural products (vegetables- kitchen garden, livestock); give insight into the variability of agriculture and wide range of other products; target interested school children of class 8 to class 12.