Readied with 31 years of experience in the civil service with focus on environment conservation and climate change, Yeshey Penjor, 54, was officially appointed the agriculture minister yesterday.
Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, who was elected from Nubi Tangsibji constituency in Trongsa claims he is aware of the impact of climate change and agriculture issues in the country.
“I didn’t expect a minister portfolio initially but after DNT won by 30 seats, I expected to be one of the cabinet ministers,” he said.
Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, who has more than three decades of experience in various agencies said he was ready to take any given portfolios. “Because of my back ground in every ministry, I was ready to take any ministry’s portfolio except for the ministry of foreign affairs,’’ he said.
He said he was fortunate to become the agriculture minister.The Prime Minister, he said, asked him about his interest in the ministry. “I am blessed to work at the agriculture ministry, which was my desire,” he said.
As the agriculture minister, his first priorities would be to work in accordance with DNT pledges on agriculture. “Fulfilling 100 percent water supply for both drinking water and irrigation water supply by 2021 is my first priority as minister.”
Making all farm roads accessible, building new farm roads and work towards self-sufficiency are also his priorities.
“Agriculture can definitely make a major contribution to the nation and in narrowing the gap,” he said. “I will elevate my team’s sprit of working in the ministry, which has capable staff.”
He said criticism is a must in a society. “I like who criticise me and I have been criticised. I can change and learn from criticism.”
Being a mountainous country with more than 60 percent of the population dependent on subsistence farming, climate change poses a major challenge to produce more agriculture products.
He said there are many opportunities to marry agriculture system with renewable energy to increase the agriculture production and improve qualities of agriculture produce. “Agriculture ministry can work closely with department of renewable energy, which can enhance our farming system,” he said.
Lyonpo also wants to enhance marketing opportunities and his main focus will be on food resources production. “Changing people’s mind set from consumption of imported products is a big challenge,” he said. “People are not realising that all imported food items contain pesticides. As agriculture minister, I want to change the peoples mind. The agriculture ministry has direct link with people in the grassroots people and I am excited to serve as agriculture minister.”