Various issues and challenges brought up MoAF in MTR

Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) presented its achievements made in less than two years at the 11th Five-Year Plan (FYP) Mid-Term Review (MTR) meeting. Out of 73 development goals, the ministry has achieved 9 development goals so far. 53 of the goals are on track and 12 are at risk.

The ministry also presented the issues that were raised from almost all the departments during the review meeting. One such issue was the irrigation channel scheme. Department of Agriculture (DoA) was to implement 108 irrigation channel schemes with their proposed outlay of Nu 2500 mn, whereas the department could implement only 71 schemes with the approved outlay.

DoA has now proposed to reduce the scheme target to 71 due to the insufficient budget. It also proposed to reduce the target of “increased paddy field area under improved irrigation system” from 79040 acres to 61447 acres.

In response, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said he has asked the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) to see if there are any financial possibilities to support DoA to implement all 108 irrigation channel schemes.

Lyonchhen said, “ To implement all 108 irrigation schemes, at first we need budget and secondly we need Human Resource (HR)”.

Lyonchhen also talked on the issues raised on enhancing the HR capacity and resources. On the matter, the ministry was asked to submit a proposal the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) or to go through Lhengye Zhungtshog.

Similarly, Department of Livestock (DoL) raised three different issues. Firstly, with regard to the request made by the department on removing the beef production from 11th FYP, whereby Lyonchhen said, “Beef

production has met its target and it is now being taken out from the 11th FYP.”

The second issue was with regard to the proposal of establishing the Bhutan Livestock Corporation (BLC) on a large scale. Lyonchhen asked the department to put the proposal to Ministry of Finance (MoF).

The final issue that DoL raised was on the difficulty of obtaining live germplasm from neighboring countries. Lyonchhen responded by saying that effort should be put by the ministry to solve its problems, and if necessary, the ministry should seek the support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). Therefore, Lyonchhen asked the ministry to put up a proposal to MoFA on the matter.

Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) raised an issue on the need for timely release of donor funds and additional budget of Nu 282 mn in 11th FYP. In response to this, Lyonchhen asked them to give full verification and to discuss the matter with GNHC and to finalize on it.

The issue raised by the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives (DoAMC) was on additional budget of Nu 270 mn for the construction of 178 farm shops to cover 205 gewogs. As of now, 27 farm shops have been constructed.

To this, Lyonchhen said, “They got Nu 50 mn from the Government of India (GoI) PTA, where the remaining amount needs to be supported by GNHC.”

Meanwhile, Bhutan Agriculture Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) also raised a few issues, such as the delay in the release of funds.

Second issue was on need to hire three chemists at NFTL, and the final issue was on the inadequate TADA budget and the need to revise budget allocation for ad-hoc regulatory services.

In response to the issues, Lyonchhen said that, if the

fund is from GoI PTA then they need to do pre-financing, and asked GNHC and MoF to finalize on it. Regarding TADA budget, Lyonchhen said it is a general issue in all the ministries and dzongkhags, due to the numerous tours assigned.

Lyonchhen asked MoF and GNHC to work together on general issues and to see if possible changes are required to be made in the 11th FYP. He asked BAFRA to work with RCSC with regard to the requirement of 3 chemists at NFTL.

National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) and Council of RNR Research of Bhutan (CRROB) did not come up with any issues as such.

CRROB is to incorporate two new activities. One of which is to provide three eggs to every student per week in schools. They have incorporated the activity in 7 schools in Lhuentse and 24 central schools. The target is to incorporate the activity in all the central schools.

Lyonchhen asked CRROB to see if they can sufficiently provide eggs in every school, its benefit to the students, and to seek the support from parents and teachers.

Accordingly, Lyonchhen asked the department to submit the final proposal to GNHC and to incorporate in every school. He said, “We need huge amount for this, so need to do a thorough research on it.”

The achievements made by MoAF are on production of maize, MAPS (ginger and cardamom) production, annual beef and chevon production. DoFPS achieved its target of promoting sustainable management and utilization of state forest and ensuring water security and ecosystem services through development of effective IWM practices in selected watersheds.

BAFRA made two achievements; 100 percent achievements in enhancing the national biosecurity and food safety.

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