The hon’ble minister for agriculture and forests visited and met the local government leaders and RNR extension agents in lower Kheng and Sarpang. During the visit, the hon’ble minister emphasized the need to achieve the goal of food security. He highlighted the three prevalent issues of human wildlife conflict, farm labor shortage, and lack of access to market.
He informed that the Ministry has already provided a power tiller to every gewog in the six eastern dzongkhags to ease labor shortage, and the gewogs in the two dzongkhags will receive theirs within the next few months. The power tillers, he said, can not only be used for tilling lands, but also for other purposes like transportation.
The feasibility to have the farm lands fenced with electric/solar fencing with the farmers bearing the cost of materials will be carried out within this year. The fencing, the hon’ble minister said, has been piloted in several areas and had proved successful in guarding the farm products from wild animals.
To ease the lack of access to market, the ministry will setup farm shops in the gewog centers. The farm shops will buy all the marketable products from the farmers and sell them in different parts of the country. This, the minister said will be done in collaboration with the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB).
As part of the visit, the hon’ble minister inaugurated the Kagtong farm road in Ngangla, Zhemgang. The 5.5 kilometer farm road is constructed under the Rural Livelihood Project (RLP) Phase II with financial assistance from Helvetas. The road will benefit 51 households of Kagtong chiwog.
The hon’ble minister also inaugurated the construction of Gong farm road under Jigmecholing gewog, Sarpang. The road will be constructed jointly by Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) and the gewog administration with funds from the gewog development grant (GDG). The central machinery unit (CMU) will provide the excavators during the construction. Around three hundred households from three chiwogs will benefit from the farm road.
In Jigmecholing gewog under Sarpang dzongkhag, the hon’ble minister inaugurated the Tashiling Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) Management and Marketing Group’s sales outlet. The sales outlet will sell pickled products harvested from the Chungshing and Chakpai community forest. The outlet will also sell furniture like alters, tables, and chairs made by the community. Similarly, another furniture house is inaugurated in Chuzom Gewog. The projects were supported by RLP Phase II.
Reported by Kinley Tshering
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