21 July 2014: AMC, Paro: With the handing/taking eremony of the KR-II Grant 2012 at the Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC) in Paro, the Hon’ble Chief Guest, His Excellency Mr. Takeshi Yagi, Ambassador of Japan to Bhutan officially handed over 152 units of power tillers to His Excellency, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture and Forests.
Speaking at the function, the Hon’ble Chief Guest said that “there is no question that agriculture forms the cornerstone of development in Bhutan as rightly highlighted by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay in his state address of the nation that “agriculture is one of the five jewels for Bhutan’s economic development” when he made an official visit to Japan, a month ago as a first Bhutanese Prime Minister’s visit to Japan. He also shared that “Hon’ble Prime Minister of Japan also assured that Japan will continue to support high priority projects in the key areas of mechanization, horticulture and irrigation, along with improvement of rural infrastructure during a bilateral meeting between Prime Ministers of Bhutan and Japan”. Therefore, Japan will wholeheartedly support this vision and will continue to place agriculture at the centre of their country’s assistance strategy for Bhutan.
The Hon’ble Chief Guest also acknowledged the dedication and hard work of Agriculture Machinery Centre for successfully implementing the KR-II projects and playing an exemplary role amongst KR-II receiving countries. Acknowledging the assistance, His Excellency Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji informed the gathering that Bhutan and Japan have a lot of similarities in custom and culture. The relationship between the two countries has continued to grow ever since the late Dasho Keiji Nishioka came to Bhutan in 1964. Lyonpo also shared that Bhutan has received the KR-II grant 23 times in the past amounting to more than Nu. 1.7 billion, comprising of more than 2795 units of power tillers, tractors, threshers, harvesters, rice transplanting machines, sprayers, water pumps, poly house etc. which has made the farming practice easier, profitable and attractive. Several developmental activities have also been funded by the counterpart funds such as technical cooperation project. Hon’ble Secretary, MoAF, Dasho Tenzin Dhendup also informed the gathering that food self-sufficiency, farm mechanization and production of summer-winter vegetables in Bhutan are accorded high priority by the Ministry and the Royal Government of Bhutan. Towards this, the Government and the people of Japan have been providing assistance of farm machines through the KR-II Grant since 1984. The farm machineries received under this grant are used for agricultural and farming purposes and have immensely benefited the farming communities and grants have given the Bhutanese farmers a very valuable opportunity to enjoy farming by using the best and the most suitable farm machines available in the world. Hon’ble Chief Guest and MoAF Minister accompanied by officials from various agencies also visited local agro-steel fabrication in Khangkhu Segona in Paro. The fabrication workshop was established in 2003 with an initial investment of Nu. 2.5 lacs. Mr. Wangchuk, the owner of the workshop said that he was interested in agricultural machinery and therefore, pursued mechanical engineering from the Royal Technical Institute in Kharbandi (near Phuentsholing) with the aim of establishing his own business of manufacturing agro-machines. Over the years Mr. Wangchuk with his observation and work experiences, brought about some modification in some parts of the agricultural machineries. Currently, the workshop deals in fabricating and supplying silo (Green Storage Bin), bull drawn plough, apple harvesting ladder, winnower, mini tractor trailer, kharang grader machine and rope way trolley. He also expressed his appreciation to the AMC for continued guidance and support in manufacturing the required machineries and accessories to help the farming community of the country. Mr. Wangchuk wishes to become a manufacturer, supplier and dealer of agro-machineries and accessories with recognition of the MoAF. The handing/taking over ceremony was attended by officials from JICA Bhutan Office, Dasho Dzongdag and officials of Paro Dzongkhag, community leaders and people’s representatives from 10 gewogs of Paro Dzongkhag and department and division heads of various agencies under MoAF. Reported by Penjor, ICS and Photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICS
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