YK Poudel

The National Seed Centre (NSC) Paro and National Centre for Organic Agriculture (NCOA) Yusipang, Thimphu, each received an excavator and a tractor from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at NSC yesterday.

The machines will be used for developing farmlands for quality fruit seedling production in NSC and NCOA, the first two organic centres in the country.

It was funded by JICA’s technical cooperation project titled, “Integrated Temperate Fruit Crops Promotion Project” for promoting agricultural production and horticulture commercialisation in Bhutan.

JICA’s Chief Representative, Tomoyuki Yamada, said that the purpose of the project was to strengthen the production and supply of quality temperate fruit seedlings and orchard management in Paro, Thimphu, and Haa.

“JICA and the Department of Agriculture are working on enhancing market-oriented agriculture by introducing the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment & Promotion (SHEP) approach in Bhutan,” he said.

The SHEP approach prioritises practical training for farmers to act as producers in the market by encouraging decentralised decision-making.

An official with NCOA said that the machines will be used for the production of quality seedlings through the skilling of farmers leading to technical output. “NCOA has 72 acres of land where such machines are a supportive asset in improving agricultural land and infrastructure development.”

Bhutan aims to achieve 100 percent organic farming by 2035.

The NSC and NCOA have been taking a proactive approach to skilling, procuring and supplying organic seeds since 2019.