Reposted from Kuensel
The agricultural ministry has requested for 350 two-wheel tractors with rotary tiller and 360 single reversible plows, from the Japanese government, as a part of its mandate to help increase agriculture production.
The ministry and the government submitted the request for ‘Grant Assistance for food security for underprivileged farmers’ (2KR) to the Japanese government based on which an agreement was signed yesterday.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) led by the chief representative of JICA-Bhutan office, Tomoki Nitta, had conducted a field study since October 1 to determine if there really was a need for all that many machines and where they would be planted.
The number of machines to be acquired would be subject to availability of fund, which is the next stage of availing of the assistance.
While distributing the 2KR machinery, priority would be given to farmers and small-scale ones, who lack the means to acquire them.
Existing farmers groups with clear agricultural and development plan would be given the first priority, followed by new farmers groups formed to share power tiller.
Apart from that, priorities would also be given to individual women applicants, heading households and in particular if they are single or without any males in the family to lend a hand in the fields.
A farmers group or individuals benefiting the assistance would have to pay for the machines in cash before the notified deadlines.
The Japanese government has been extending this program to the country since 1977 to help it realise its goal of food self-sufficiency.
Between 1997 and September 14 this year, the country has benefited a total fund of Nu 73.15M under the program.
Tomoki Nitta said the agreement was drawn to continue contributing to the country’s development, especially in the rural and agricultural development and the welfare of rural farmers.
Agriculture secretary Sherub Gyeltshen said the support received form the Japanese government helped in rural development and encouraged developing countries like Bhutan in its strife to attaining self-sufficient food production.
“As many young people are getting more and more educated their aspirations change over the years and not many young people want to return to the fields,” he said. “Such support received form the Japan government can make the agriculture sector more attractive and help retain young people in the villages, thereby solving the issue of farm labour shortage and subsequently reduce rural poverty.”
In 2010 the country had received 152 farm machines under grant, of which 142 were distributed to the 20 dzongkhags, four set for promotional and educational purposes, three for supporting farmers support service centre and three to support one stop shop initiative.
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