The Japanese government has provided 353 more power tillers to Bhutan. Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu handed over the power tillers worth Nu 137 million to the Agriculture Machinery Centre. These power tillers will be used for hiring services.
At present, there are 505 power tillers under the hiring services managed by the Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL) in all gewogs. The 353 power tillers received will be also used for hiring services and stationed at three centres in Nubding, Drakteng and Buli in Zhemgang.
Under the present hiring system, farmers will be able to hire the tillers at Nu 1400 a day, much lower than commercial hiring rate of Nu 3000-3500 a day. The government is supporting the subsidy to meet the operation gap in the hiring services to promote mechanization and address shortage of labour.
The power tillers were provided as part of the Project for Improvement of Farm Machinery for Hiring Services of Tillage, which is based on the request for 1,450 power tillers by the present government.
Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that the power tillers would greatly contribute to the country’s efforts in farm mechanization, which is one of the most important programmes implemented by ministry. “It has the potential to change and uplift the lives of more than half of Bhutan’s total population and therefore, assistance in this sector is deeply valued and appreciated both by the people and the Government,” stated Lyonpo.
Agriculture is the core of the country’s socio-economic development contributing 16 percent of the country’s GDP and employing 56 percent of the population.
Bhutan has been the recipient of KR II Grant for almost 40 years and received 3,186 power tillers till date.
Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu said that his government understands the importance of agriculture in Bhutan. “Recognizing this importance, Japan will continue to support agriculture sector in Bhutan,” he said.
The Farm machinery corporation Ltd (FMCL) was instituted to deliver effective and efficient service and optimal utilization of farm machinery, meeting demands of the farmers and to encourage commercial agriculture.
The Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC) is a technical organisation for promoting farm mechanisation in the country. Till now, AMC had tested seven different machines and trained more than 7,550 farmers and stakeholders. An additional 427 extensions from 205 gewog extension officers were provided basic and advance farm machinery trainings. The corporation also employed 333 youth as operators initially and then gradually handed over operation and maintenance so that they can become entrepreneurs. The corporation has placed operators in more than 100 gewogs centres. It is expected to open 65 centres by June this year.