About 60 youth registered with the land use right system (URS) project to take up agro-farming and livestock in rural areas at the national job fair held last week.

The project started as a component of land kidu in 2016 to enhance land productivity, provide employment for youth and to promote commercial farming.

Speaking to the youth who registered for URS at the opening of the national job fair in Thimphu, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said there are people who are interested in farming but have issues of land.

“Some have land but don’t have enough. Some have enough land but working on new farming ideas with the parents would be difficult. There are many other challenges and with the land URS, you will have the opportunity to do farming,” he said.

There is 58 youth in six groups currently working on the project. Four of the six groups are located in Lhuntse while the two other groups are in Mongar.

An official from the Office of Gyalpoi Zimpon, Namgay Rinchen, said that assistance in farming, technical training and land would be provided to the groups. “Interested individuals will have to work in groups at a rural location. Our aim is not to promote business but to replace traditional farming with mechanised farming.”

A group of interested individuals will receive land kidu for the project with support from various departments to initiate a business.

A class 12 graduate, Geyden Chophel, is a member of a group farming in Minjey gewog, Lhuntse.

His group received 15 acres of land for farming.

Geyden Chophel said that in 2016, tshogpas of various gewogs in Lhuentse listed the names of youth at the village for the project.

He said interested individuals came forward for the project.

A production plan including the details of the farming was developed. “The farming work began in March 2017. After a year of farming we earned an annual income of Nu 130,000,” Geyden Chophel said.

Another group member, Jigme Thinley, works in Jarey gewog in Lhuntse.

The 30-year-old graduate of Gaeddu College of Business Studies started integrated farming with seven members.

Jigme Thinley said that seven of them including class 10 and 12 graduates came forward to take up farming in 2016. “We received all kinds of assistance including training in using tractors. The government fully supports the project with saplings, fencing, and training to use various equipment.”

The group in Jarey gewog received 10 acres of land on which poultry and farming have begun. They will also begin a dairy farm at the location.

A group receiving the land will be allowed to cultivate on it but will not gain ownership of the land. If the land is left unused or fallow, the land will be reverted as state land.

For a period of one year, the individuals also receive a monthly stipend of Nu 3,750 from the government. “If we find other ideas or business that we want to pursue in the future, we can also do that,” Jigme Thinley said.

Phurpa Lhamo