About 68 percent of households are less than an hour’s walk from the nearest motorable road point

Connectivity: Farm roads connected 10,444 houses in the first two years of the 11th Plan, records with the agriculture and forests ministry show.

From the beginning of the 11th Plan until May this year, an additional 931 kilometers of farm roads were constructed across the country. This takes the total length of farm roads to 6,765 kilometers and the number of households covered to 76,484.

According to the government, distribution of subsidised farm machineries and improving access to market is one of the ways to promote agricultural development, central to which are farm roads.

Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji said farm roads were not only important for agricultural development but also to provide accessibility to public services such as health care. “You can easily take a sick person to the nearest BHU or hospital if you have access to a road,” he said.

Lyonpo also said that farm roads were equally important for promotion of good governance as they enable public servants to reach communities. “For example, election officials can reach even the most remote places if there is a farm road,” he said.

However, lyonpo Yeshey Dorji added that there are a lot more to be covered by roads.

According to the Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) statistics 2015, by the end of the 10th Plan, 5,834 kilometers of farm roads were constructed connecting 66,000 households.

The RNR sector continues to put its concerted efforts in promoting subsistence farming to market driven farming system by improving basic technologies and facilities.

One of the critical factors in improving rural cash income, it states, is accessibility of rural farmers to markets.

Among others, construction of market infrastructures that are easily accessible to both the producers and consumers is an ongoing task of the RNR sector.

During the 10the Plan, at least 465 types of agricultural marketing infrastructures were constructed in 14 dzongkhags, most of them with support from Mongar based project in Regional Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives and the department of agriculture marketing cooperatives.

With the present coverage of farm roads, the agriculture ministry estimates that about 68.35 percent of the households in the country are within less than an hour from the nearest motorable road point.

MB Subba