28 November 2013, Thimphu: A wrap-up meeting for the Market Access and Growth Intensification Project (MAGIP) supervision mission was held at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) under the Chairmanship of the Officiating Secretary, Mr. Chencho Norbu, the Director General for the Department of Forests and Park Services.
The Supervision Team led by Mr. Harry Franks was in the country from 5 November 2013 to assess the progress made since the last mission particularly following the recommendations of the mid-term review in November 2012.
Addressing the meeting, the Offtg. Secretary reminded the floor on MAGIP’s objective of helping poverty alleviation. He hoped that the mission would guide and do its best in taking forward the planned programs of MAGIP successfully.
Following this, the team presented the Aide Memoire highlighting the observations, progress and recommendations from their field visit to the project areas of the six eastern Dzongkhags of Lhuentse, Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Pemagatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar.
Some of the important progress during 2012-13 financial year (FY) included the formation of 114 vegetable groups and school linking program, supply of 32 power tillers, improvement of 34 kms farm roads, construction of 10 kms of new irrigation channels, setting up of 14 one stop farmer shops (OSFS) and linking the food corporation of Bhutan to these OSFS and farmer groups.
The meeting also discussed financial achievements and issues amongst others. It was informed that MAGIP has done quite well in terms of fund disbursement with over 83% achievement against the released fund in the 1st year and 84% in the financial year 2012-13.
The mission during their stay also re-examined the project extension proposal by 18 months and the concept note for a new project proposed by the Royal Government. Besides, they met with the heads of the departments and agencies under the Ministry and Ministry of Finance, development partners such as the Netherlands Development Organisation, United Nations Development Program and Food and Agriculture Organisation.
MAGIP, a four year project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is in the third year of its implementation. With about USD 5M disbursed, the project has about USD 8.5M balance to implement in the remaining project period.
In the meantime, the wrap-up meeting felt necessary to review the Aide memoire before finalisation. The concerned stakeholders have been directed to review the Aide memoire for concurrence by MoAF and IFAD.
By Tshering Doma with photo by Tandin Norbu, ICS
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