The ministry of agriculture will be import five metric tonnes (MT) of rice seeds from Bangladesh to promote double cropping of paddy and reduce import of the staple diet.
“The seeds will be used to cultivate spring rice from February to June in the mid and low altitude areas between 200-1200 meters elevation, mostly in Samdrupjongkhar, Samtse, Sarpang and Wangdue-Punakha valley,” said Mahesh Ghimiray, Rice Specialist at ARDC, Wangdue. “This will be followed by the main rice crop from June to November.”
The Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL), a state owned enterprise, will cultivate the imported varieties by leasing lands from farmers. FMCL will give 20% of profit from production to farmers who leased their lands and keep 80% to cover procurement of machines and human resources.
The BRRI Dhan-26 and BRRI Dhan-28 varieties, of 2.5 MT each, will be imported, and has been tested for their adaptability in Bhutan by the Agricultural Research and Development Centre at Bhur in Sarpang.
Mahesh Ghimiray said the rice seeds for double cropping are being imported from Bangladesh because the growing conditions there, match with Bhutan’s southern regions.
The Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC), which will export the seeds, has signed an agreement with the Bhutanese agriculture ministry to supply 40 MT of rice seeds.
According to rice specialist Mahesh Ghimiray the need to import rice seeds was felt since Bhutan does not have quality seeds to promote double cropping. He said the domestic traditional varieties take more than 5 months to mature whereas the seeds from Bangladesh will take around three and a half months.
Mahesh Ghimiray also said that Bangladesh shipped a few high yielding varieties of mustard and lentil seeds developed by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute.