The Prime Minister on behalf of the government took charge of 239 power tillers worth around Nu 65 mn given as the final power tiller grant under the KR-II grant scheme of the Japanese government.
The PM said that earlier this year, the Government initiated the distribution of 70 power tillers to each Gewog under six Dzongkhags in the East (Lhuentse, Mongar, Trashiyangtse, PemaGatshel, Samdrup Jongkhar and Trashigang) under the Farm Machinery Hiring System.
“And today we will be distributing 135 power tillers to each Gewogs for the remaining 14 Dzongkhags (Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Dagana, Tsirang, Chukha, Bumthang, Gasa, Haa, Paro, Samtse, Sarpang, Trongsa and Zhemgang),” said the PM.
This would mean that all of Bhutan’s 205 gewogs would be soon getting one power tiller each to be used by local farmers in exchange for a daily fee of Nu 1400.
The PM said, “All of us know if a farmer has to hire people to work in their farm, they land up paying not less than Nu. 400-500 per day per person in addition to providing drinks and three meals.”
The PM said that in particular, he would like to thank Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan for his positive response to his request to provide 1450 power tillers to Bhutan during his visit to Japan in June-July 2014.
Bhutan has been the recipient of KR II Grant for almost 40 years. Since its inception in 1984, the people of Bhutan have received 3,186 power tillers as of date worth around Nu 1.8 bn.
The PM said that between last year and this year, a total of 391 power tillers have been received.
The PM extolling on the benefits of the power tiller said that a case study conducted by the Regional Agricultural Machinery Centre in 2014, showed there has been a 15 percent increase in the rice yield and the cost of production reduced by 48.8 percent with the use of power tillers as compared to the manual plough.
The PM pointed out that farm mechanization has been instrumental in enabling Bhutanese farmers to increase their production of staple food crops, mainly rice, wheat and maize. “More importantly, in the face of increasing labour shortage in rural areas, power tillers have enabled farm mechanization and greatly reduced the drudgery of farming,” said the PM. He also said that the utility of the power tiller is further optimized with its additional use for transportation purposes by farmers.
The grant provided under Food Security Project for Underprivileged Farmers was formalized and notes were signed and exchanged between Mr. Kikuta Yutaka, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan, New Delhi, India and Mr. Karma Dorji, officiating. Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
The PM expressed deep gratitude of the people and the Government of Bhutan to the people and Government of Japan for its continued support to Bhutan’s overall socio-economic development.