30 November Punakha. His Excellence the Hon’ble Sanam Lyonpo inaugurated the 3km Pateri irrigation channel from Ngalachen to Pateri in Kabjisa, Punakha dzongkhag. The irrigation is to benefit some 43 household comprising of around 100 acres of wetland (Chuzhing). The initiation was in line with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest’s (MoAF) objective to achieve rice self-sufficiency. The Ministry aims to achieve at least 65% to 70% rice self-sufficiency by the end of 11th Five Year Plan. This project costing of Nu.7.526 Million was funded by the World Bank.
Pateri Chiwog in Punakha has always been dependent on seasonal rainfall for several years for the cultivation of their crops. The little irrigation water available was not enough for the paddy cultivation. Correspondingly in 2008 to 2009 Pateri suffered with no rainfall and almost no yield. Hence Pateri gup in his welcome speech highlighted that, as a result they had to leave acres of land fallow without paddy cultivation. He added ‘it was the year when we even suffered from poverty.’ With the help of Dasho Dzongdha and Agriculture Ministry, Pateri gup said they had received wheat and vegetable seeds which had helped them with their sustainability.
With the inauguration of Pateri irrigation channel Hon’ble Lyonpo expected that all the people in Pateri would now concentrate in Paddy cultivation. Hon’ble lyonpo in his inaugural speech also highlighted that with the inauguration of this irrigation channel, the people would produce comparatively more quantity of rice. He also stated “our economy is dependent on agriculture and livestock. Therefore with water resources at our hand, we should make proper use of it.” Hon’ble highlighted that such initiation of irrigation channel is not only in Pateri but it would be supported to all the people facing the same problem.
Finally the agriculture minister shared his plans to eradicate the farm drudgery by prioritizing farm mechanism and also shared the plans on initiating the outlets for farm produce in each Gewogs.
Reported by Tashi Yangzom, ICS
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