JICA: To provide farmers with better access to appropriate farm machineries, the government had requested the Government of Japan for a technical cooperation project called Strengthening Farm Mechanisation Project Phase II (SFaMP).

The project began in August last year at two pilot areas, Paro and Sarpang. After signing a record of discussion on April 22 between Bhutan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a detailed plan on the project was to be worked out by JICA and Department of Agriculture (DoA) on the project.

During the first joint coordinating committee meeting of SFaMP-II yesterday, the committee members approved the annual work plan presented by project coordinators which included procurement of testing equipment, awareness of standards and safety and hiring of experts among others.

Members also presented an overview of the ongoing progress with the project, where they said that farm mechanisation area ratio increased by 10 percent at Paro and Sarpang and farmers there had better access to appropriate farm machinery.

The Agriculture Machinery Centre (AMC) has been facilitating the supply of farm machinery as well as back-up service delivery after sales however; those activities have still been heavily dependent on power tillers supported by Japan’s 2KR grant assistance.

The government in collaboration with JICA implemented Strengthening Farm Mechanisation Project in June 2008 to May 2011. The project strengthened the capacity of AMC towards sustainable farm mechanisation.

AMC is currently working on developing the quality and safety standards for farm machinery, which are based on test codes developed in the project.

Younten Tshedup