A group of 20 youth in Gyserling gewog, Dagana, who dropped out of the education system, have come together to take up farming.
The group was encouraged by the recent visit of agriculture minister who suggested they submit proposals to the Regional Livestock Development Center (RLDC) and Agriculture Research Development Center (ARDC) offices in Wangdue.
Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji said the group has shown interest in agriculture through the government’s initiative of farm mechanisation.
Lyonpo said the group will approach ARDC and RLDC for practical training in marketing and farm management skills as well as entrepreneurship.
The initial training includes farm management practices, marketing farm produce, and agribusiness practices to ensure a basis for an established group business enterprise.
Lyonpo said that ultimately it is the hope that youth out of schools, will develop their skills in business enterprising, leading to the creation of employment opportunities in agriculture for income generation, as well as contributing to the enhancement of food security in the country.
The ministry’s initiative of farm mechanization has not only helped bring down problem associated with farm labor shortage but has also helped bring increasing fallow land under cultivation.
According to Gyserling Gup Pema Wangmo the lack of irrigation and drinking water in most gewogs has resulted into wetlands remaining fallow.
She said the lack of market for the products has further discouraged people.
The ministry has assured people of resolving these issues and farmers especially the youth group is optimistic.
The ministry aims to have one green house and one electric fence in all chiwogs as a demonstration. Polythene sheets have been distributed to chiwogs that do not have greenhouse. Additional powers tillers were also provided to Tashiding and Gozi gewogs which have potential for commercial farming and potato tuber, maize and wheat seeds and irrigation materials like pipes and sprinklers to farmers groups.
The school dropout Karma Wangdi, 28, said that this has set the stage for interested youth to actively engage in agricultural pursuits to improve their welfare and that of the country as well.
“Without adequate water, easy access to market and shortage of farm labour, farming has been significantly affected,” said Karma Wangdi, 28, of the farmers group in Gyserling gewog. “Now with the improved accessibility farmers like me can now afford to own farm machinery.”
Farm labor shortage is identified as one of the major hurdles in farming operations and agricultural development in the country and easy access to machinery would lead to increase in the area of land under cultivation and food production according to the ministry.