The eastern districts are given priority in providing agriculture machinery  

 Farming: The 25 gewogs of Mongar and Lhuentse dzongkhags received a power tiller each yesterday.

In the morning, the eight gewogs of Lhuentse received its power tillers in Autsho while another 17 power tillers were presented to the local government leaders of Mongar in the evening.

During the handing taking ceremony, National Assembly Speaker Jigmi Zangpo said the agriculture ministry decided to give the power tiller in the eastern dzongkhags to address farm labour shortage and feminisation of agriculture. The power tillers are also expected to help optimise land utilisation, land intensification and promote commercialisation of agriculture

Agriculture ministry’s respective gewog extension officers would manage and hire out the tillers to farmers.

“After reaching the power tiller at the gewog centre, there should be no misunderstanding between farmers and chiwogs,” the speaker said. “The government wants result in terms of how much farmers can produce and not how much they can earn.”

Agriculture minister Yeshi Dorji said the government had pledged to provide a power tiller in each of the 1,040 chiwogs in the country.

The Agriculture Machinery Centre’s (AMC) programme director, Karma Thinley, said AMC stopped selling power tillers to farmers since they started providing power tillers on hire. Currently there are about 160 such machines provided on hire across the country.

“We’re setting up service centres in the gewogs and eight such centres were set up last year,” he said, adding that currently centres are being established in Lhamoizingkha and Tsirang.

Given the small number of power tillers in the east today, lyonpo said eastern Bhutan would be given first preference when it comes to providing power tillers. Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said, while the east has less than 300 such machines, the western region has more than 1,000 power tillers.

AMC would receive 239-power tillers by the end of February, which the Japanese government is providing under the KR II grant.

Today, the minister and the Speaker will hand over eight power tillers in Trashiyangtse, 15 to Trashigang tomorrow and then move to Samdrupjongkhar and Pemagatshel.

By Tashi Phuntsho