A Sherubtse College graduate left his job at the Punatshangchhu Hydropower Project Authority for farming.

“I could have extended my contract at the project but I wanted to come back to my village,” Jamyang Phuntsho from Bartsham, Trashigang said.

“I was also selected as a mines foreman at the State Mining Corporation Ltd recently but I had already made up my mind to pursue my interest in farming.”

After working for five years at the project, the 27-year-old is currently undergoing a month-long power tiller operator training at the Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC) in Khangma, Trashigang.  The training began on September 6.

Jamyang Phuntsho volunteered for the training. He said that skills like operating a power tiller have become essential in farming. “We need the skills since many agricultural practices have become mechanised.”

He said that he would go back to his village and explore prospects of commercial farming after completing the training. “I would like to impart the skills and knowledge I’ve learned here to other school dropouts in my village.”

He said he would also help other people in the village who operate power tiller without much technical knowledge. “There are many, who use power tillers but without any training and they do not follow the safety rules.”

There are 19 participants from Trashigang, Samdrupjongkhar, Trashiyangtse and Lhuentse.

AMC regional manager, Kinzang, said that the training aims to equip participants with power tiller driving skills on the highway and also on the fields. The participants are also learning to perform minor maintenance such as changing engine oils, fixing break and clutch wires among others.

He, however, said that a separate mechanical course would be required if the participants would like to learn how to repair the whole engine.

Currently the Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL) provides repairing services to defunct power tillers and farming machinery.

Kinzang said that the centre is planning to conduct a mechanic course for the staff of FMCL.

Of the 19 participants, 11 will be selected by FMCL as gewog power tiller operators.

There are about 75 power tillers in Trashigang today of which 36 are provided by the government.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang