The centre will then be known as Farm Machinery Corporation Ltd.

Agriculture: The Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC) in Paro will function as a state-owned enterprise from June 1 after which it will be known as the Farm Machinery Corporation Ltd.

AMC’s programme director Karma Thinley said that it has been about two years since corporatising the centre was planned. It was finalised on March 29 and incorporated as the Farm Machinery Corporation Ltd.

The centre, however, will be fully functional only from July.

Karma Thinley said that AMC’s research, quality and training centre would still be under the government. “As policy guidance for farm machanisation, long-term sustainability and assuring the quality and backup services, it is vital to retain the three units,” he said. “As a corporation, we may not invest in research or quality.”

Once the centre functions as a corporation, there will be about 40 employees while some would be recruited on contract.

“Corporatisation of AMC is expected to help improve work efficiency and service delivery,” said Karma Thinley. Other objectives also include increasing efficiency by reducing public spending.

Since its establishment in 1983, Karma Thinley said the centre should have been way ahead in its mandate of farm mechanisation. However, as of now only five percent of arable land is considered mechanised.

“In the 11th Plan we have targeted for 27 percent of arable lands to be mechanised, but it was not possible,” said Karma Tshering.

AMC officials said that some farmers were not able to avail the required services on time, which was attributed to various governmental procedures such as the financial authority at the implementation level, and stringent procurement procedures that required various approvals.

Officials also said that as a government entity, if an employee fails to perform well, the only way is to either withhold promotion or transfer workload. However as a corporation, things are expected to function differently based on an individual’s performance.

Karma Thinley said as a corporation, if an employee were able to sell 100 power tillers, he or she would be rewarded as a motivation.

He said the gewog extension staff are managing power tiller hiring services at gewog levels. However, as of now even if AMC has to pay them some remunerations or benefits, there are restrictions being a government office.

There are 104 employees working in four regional AMCs across the country. AMC was established to realise national food self-sufficiency and it embarked on the programme to mechanise Bhutanese agriculture through the use of appropriate farm machineries and tools.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue