Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Hon’ble Agriculture Minister, was on tour of four Dzongkhags, from 5-10 October 2015. He was accompanied by official from Ministry and RNR field officials in respective Dzongkhags.
5 October: Enroute to Sarpang, Lyonpo visited the ongoing Damphu Park development by Tsirang Dzongkhag in commemoration of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 60th Birth Anniversary. He also visited Turkey and Poultry layer farm at Relangthang, under Gakiling Geog, Sarpang.
6 October: Lyonpo met with RNR Sector and attended the 11th Five Year Plan midterm review presentation by the sector heads and program managers in Gelephu and inaugurated the Conservation Center for Golden Mahaseer and other native fishes at the National Center for Aquaculture. The center houses about 26 fish species. The Primary species housed in the aquarium is of Golden Mahaseer, besides, other native fish species such as chocolate mahasheer, puntius sp, snake head, eel and cyprinid species are also being conserved. The conservation center is dedicated to the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
7 October: Lyonpo inaugurated farm shop at Tingtibi followed by inauguration of 3 km electric fencing at Berthi Village under Trong Geog, built with partial support from Rural Livelihood Project funded by Helvetas. Lyonpo also handed over the power tillers for eight Geogs at the Geog center and later visited a fishery farm in Berthi.
Lyonpo said government will continuously support bringing more farmlands under electric fencing to mitigate human wild life conflict, to encourage farmers to produce more food for self consumption and for sales, and to discourage rural–urban migration.
To make farming more attractive, Lyonpo said government will also provide excavators and other farm machineries besides power tillers to reduce farm labour shortage and to facilitate continuous improvement of farm roads and other rural infrastructures. He said, farmers should attach more importance to growing crops organically given the fertile soils, plenty of fresh water and suitable climatic conditions all year round. He also encouraged farmers to promote ecotourism given the rich biodiversity in the Dzongkhag.
In the afternoon, Lyonpo visited Mithun Breeding Farm, Rural Development Training Center and Regional Livestock Development Center and inaugurated Zhemgang Forests Range Office. The RNR Sector presented the 11 FYP mid-term reports and they were commended for the progress.
8 October: Lyonpo, Yeshey Dorji, was a chief guest at the first ever, Bhutan Bird Festival – “Celebrating Birds, Celebrating Life” at Tingtibi. The festival was celebrated to commemorate the 60th Birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
Coinciding the Festival, Lyonpo presented Jigme Singye Wangchuck Outstanding Environmental Stewardship Award to:
- Tshering Penjore, Principal Research Officer, Research and Development Center, Wengkhar for development of improvised low cost electric fencing – which has become very popular among farmers within a span of two years, 2013-2015, 362 Km of electric fencing were constructed covering an area of 6473 acres, benefitting 3015 rural households and the demands for electric fencing keeps increasing.
- D.B Gurung, Dean of the College of Natural Resources, Lobeysa, for improving the academic standards and for his contributions in the study of orchids and aqua diversity.
- Sherub, Ornithologists, Chief of Research and Education, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation and Environment for his contribution in the study of birds of Bhutan.
The festival saw a huge number of residents and students from eight geogs. Each geog displayed and sold products unique to their geogs. Quiz competition covering topics on environment and biodiversity was organised for students from various schools in the Dzongkhags.
9 October: Lyonpo inaugurated 3 km electric fence covering 45 acres of wetland, belonging to 27 households in and visited Buli RNR Center, farm shop and commercial agriculture site developed by a Buli farmer.
On the way to Trongsa, Lyonpo and entourage visited Samchoeling Green Tea processing center and the tea growers group. There are 27 households in a group cultivating about 45 acres of land. The tea growers presented the problem of land shortage that hampers meeting growing demand for green tea. The group requested Lyonpo for vacant government land for expansion of tea plantation. Lyonpo also identified previous Livestock Extension Center for Farm Shop in Kuenga Rabten.
10 October: Lyonpo handed over power tillers for Trongsa and Bumthang Dzongkhag in the presence of Trongsa and Bumthang Dzongdas, local leaders and RNR staff. Lyonpo informed the gathering that with the inclusion of Trongsa Dzongkhag, total of 195 power tillers were handed over to 19 Dzongkhags.
Lyonpo visited Geog center of Nubi and Tangsibji and identified Farm shops for each Geog at the respective centers.
A 5.4 Km electric fencing was also inaugurated by Lyonpo at Nubi Pam under Nubi Geog. The electric fence is expected to benefit 38 households and it was built with financial support from Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Trongsa.
In the afternoon, Lyonpo and the entourage visited Nikachu Project Office and met briefly with the project and Chief Forestry official of Zhemgang to discuss on the environmental impact of constructing Dam through the areas that fall under the biological corridor. Lyonpo told the meeting that the cost benefit of the project to be weighed and will come to a common consensus.
Compiled by Singye Wangmo, ICS
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