January 10, Paro: His Excellency Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, the Ambassador, Embassy of Japan in New Delhi handed over 353 power tillers worth approximately Nu. 137 million to Hon’ble Sanam Lyonpo under the general grand aid ‘The Project for the improvement of Farm Machinery for Hiring Services of Tillage’.
Bhutan has been the recipient of KR II Grant for almost 40 years and has received 3186 power tillers till date.
At present, there are 505 power tillers under the hiring services being implemented by the Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL) in all geogs. Similarly, 353 power tillers received will be also used for hiring services.
Under the present hiring system, all the farmers will be able to hire the tillers at Nu. 1400 per day when commercial hiring rate is Nu. 3000-3500 per day. The government is supporting the subsidy to meet the operation gap in the hiring services with the clear intention to promote mechanisation due to shortage of labour and rural urban migration.
The availability of power tillers have enabled farm mechanisation, labour shortage and greatly reduced farm drudgery thereby enabling Bhutanese farmers to increase their production of staple food crops mainly rice, wheat and maize..
“It has the potential to change and uplift the lives of more than half of Bhutan’s total population and therefore, assistance in this sector is deeply valued and appreciated both by the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan” stated Lyonpo. Agriculture is the core of the country’s socio-economic development contributing to 16% of the country’s GDP and employs 56% of the population.
Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu said that his government understands the importance of agriculture in Bhutan. “Recognising this importance, Japan will continue to support agriculture sector in Bhutan”, he said.
FMCL was instituted last year from the Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC) to meet the farm mechanisation demand of the farmers and promote commercial agriculture.
AMC is a technical organisation for promoting farm mechanisation programme in the country. It focus on technology generation both from within and outside the country, carry out test of farm machinery based on the National Standards and providetraining on operation and repair of farm machinery. AMC had tested seven different machines and more than 7550 farmers and stakeholders were trained. Additionally, 427 extensions from 205 geog extension officers were provided basic and advance farm machinery trainings. They are also supporting on the hiring services and other machine related issues in each geog.
Also present in the event were representatives from JICA, Parliament, National Council and Sumitomo Corporation along with senior officials from the Ministry and Paro Dzongkhag Administration.
Reported by Tashi Yangzom with Photos by Choidup Zangpo, ICTD
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