Mega farms questioned in National Assembly

The MP from Khar-Yurung constituency, Zangley Drukpa, raised concerns on the farms in Samrang and Yusipang.

He said as a Buddhist country, people in Bhutan hold high regard for the spiritual and cultural values of the country, and therefore, establishing of a mega farm by the government hurts the sentiments of the people.

MP Zangley Drukpa asked the Home Minister, Dawa Gyaltshen, about the status of the mega farm and about the government initiating the farm despite opposition from the people.

Clarifying on the concern, Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen said that the starting of mega farms in the country by the government is due to the rapidly increasing demand of meat in the country each year, which leads to the Indian Rupee (INR) crunch due to heavy import of meat from border areas.

According to Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen, although Bhutan is a Buddhist nation, most Bhutanese cannot stop eating meat. Therefore, he said it is important to not involve religious sentiments.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister, Yeshey Dorji, said in the light of the ongoing INR crunch, Bhutan is aiming to work towards self-sufficiency at an accelerated pace. Towards this goal, the government has planned new agriculture development programs to bring significant progress in various sectors by the end of the current plan, which includes the start of the mega farm.

According to Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, the key intention of establishing a mega farm in Samrang is to produce meat domestically and reduce import so that INR will stay within the country.

“The mega farm will reduce meat import drastically and achieve meat self- sufficiency” Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said.

Lyonpo further said that the initiatives of the agriculture ministry has enhanced the local agricultural production including vegetables, egg, fish, chicken, etc. to meet the domestic demand for self-reliance and the farmers around the country are motivated to produce domestically.

Lyonpo also stated that the opportunities in addressing food security, livelihoods, poverty and employment issues can be done only through commercialization of agriculture and putting in more effort towards achieving self-sufficiency in cereal production, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry and fisheries.

He added that the agriculture ministry has received increasing demand of fingerlings, calf, jersey, pullet, etc. this year alone.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader, Dr Pema Gyamtsho, said that the objectives of the agriculture ministry is to enhance poultry and livestock production in the country, and the ministry has been supporting private individuals in taking up dairy farming and poultry business.

Opposition Leader said that a slaughter house initiated by a private individual cannot be stopped as they have the right to start up businesses to enhance their livelihood. However, Dr Pema Gyamtsho said when it comes to government coming up of a slaughter plant, it can be stopped as it is not viable.

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