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Agricultural growth booms in 2015 and 2016 after a long sluggish period

Agricultural growth picked up starting 2015 after a long period of sluggish growth in the sector. The two consecutive higher growths of 2015 and 2016 as compared to past years are attributed to the increased production Potato, Chilli and Paddy.

The sector recorded a value addition of Nu 14.794 bn in 2016 compared to Nu. 13.442 bn in 2015, with 10.05 percent share to GDP as per the National Statistical Bureau (NSB) GDP report. Crops recorded a growth of 6.54 percent in 2016 compared to the 6.78 percent in 2015.

Within the livestock population, the local cattle population recorded a huge growth of 11.76 percent, up by 7.03 percentage points as against 4.73 percent growth in 2015.

At the same time, improved breed of cattle saw a growth of 6.42 percent as compared against negative growth of 23.06 percent in the previous year.

The Gross Value Added (GVA) for the Livestock sector, estimated based on livestock population by different species and categories, amounted to Nu. 5.779 bn in current prices. It saw a growth of 5.54 percent, which is an increase of 2.19 percentage points from 2015.

The Livestock sector made a contribution of 0.20 percentage points to the total GDP growth. The share of livestock to the GDP was recorded at 3.89 percent, which is a marginal decrease of 0.08 percentage points as compared to 2015.

The Minister for Agriculture and Forests Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that there are specific factors and efforts that have contributed to this high growth in 2015 and 2016.

He said firstly the government on the input front introduced high yielding seeds of maize, potatoes, rice and chilli. In addition to this the government went in for constructing new irrigation projects and repairing older ones. To ensure that the fruits are not wasted Lyonpo said that the government has done mass electrical fencing of 2,000 km which has greatly brought down human-wildlife conflict and protected crops.

Lyonpo said that the government also consciously carried out farm mechanization at various levels which enabled a lot of fallow land to be converted into productive land. In addition to this the government encouraged large scale commercial farming. Lyonpo said that green houses also made a difference as the government has ensured that every chiwog has green houses.

In addition to this the minister also gave credit to the BoIC and now REDCL scheme that enhanced rural credit and productivity.

On the livestock front Lyonpo said that the biggest achievement is that the government in the last four years has added 7,000 to 8,000 cows to the dairy cow population. He said in addition to this cow feed and fodder program has been introduced including feeding cows with certain winter crops. Lyonpo said the egg industry has boomed and fisheries have also given more options. On piggery Lyonpo said that old 1991 piglets imported from the UK was leading to declining productivity due to genetic decline but the minister said that the new piglets are a more productive parent stock. The minister said that government has also come up with integrated livestock programs.

The Prime Minister Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that the growth in the future would be more given the many recent investments in Agriculture which would start bearing more fruit next year too. He also reiterated that agriculture has started doing well after a long period of lack of growth.

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