Agriculture centres battle duplicate roles

Phub Dem

The government would soon commence a comprehensive workshop to revamp the agriculture centres in the country.

Acknowledging that the agriculture centres were working in bits and silos with similar roles, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering asked them to collaborate to facelift the centres after the workshop with the relevant stakeholders.

The centres include Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC), Farm Machinery Centre Limited (FMCL), National Post Harvest Centre (NPHC) and National Seed Centre.

Economic affairs, labour, agriculture and forest, and foreign affairs ministries along with officials from the Gross National Happiness Commission, Department of Agriculture, Department of Cottage and Industry, National CSI bank and four agriculture centres will chart a way forward during the workshop.

Lyonchhen, during his visit to agriculture centres in Paro yesterday said that there were duplications in roles of the centres and their mandates were overlapping.

For instance, Lyonchhen said that FMCL’s role was a duplication of AMC when it comes to mechanising farm machinery equipment.

Except for authorisation and certification of farm machinery by AMC, Lyonchhen said that their roles were identical and confusing.

Besides, FMCL is also engaged in making spare parts, participate in commercial and contract farming and hiring farm machines, sale and repair farm machinery, sale Petroleum Oil and lubricants.

The multiple roles, according to Lyonchhen, might divert the company from its actual mandate.

He said that FMCL should either focus on a unique export product or focus on producing agriculture produce during the offseason.

Lyonchhen also highlighted the similarity between the NPHC and what Department of Cottage and Industry was doing. “The roles of NPHC, Department of Agriculture marketing and CSI flagship were overlapping too.”

The products and role of NPHC were intersecting those of the startup centre in Changzamtog, Lyonchhen said.

The NPHC has a pilot food processing plant, a post-harvest laboratory, cold stores, a refrigerated truck and a pack-house.

Lyonchhen asked the agencies to relook at their mandates so that they fulfill the national priorities and reminded the centres that their mandate should be more of facilitation, rather than competing with the farmers.

The centres were running into loss if it wasn’t for the subsidy from the government according to their financial analysis presented to the Prime Minister.

Lyonchhen also asked if the centres were communicating and working together. “The workshop would clear all the confusion, and it would result in a big change.”

Lyonchhen asked the employees of these centres to be prepared for any reforms.

Meanwhile, Lyonchhen also interacted with 450 trainees undergoing the 39th Desuung training at Drugyel Central School yesterday.

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