Chhimi Dema  

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests has identified chain-linked fencing as a major solution to tackle increasing cases of human-wildlife conflict and allotted Nu 500 million in this fiscal year, the agriculture minister said. 

Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor said that the ministry is providing chain-linked fencing to farmers based on proposals from the Dzongkhag Tshogdus and to places with high agricultural production potential.

He said this in response to Member of Parliament of Sarpang, Anand Rai’s question on the dwindling cereal production during the National Council session on November 16.

MP Anand Rai said that the cereal production, sown and harvest area in the country has decreased in the past three years according to the Agriculture Statistics Report.

He said that the decreasing trend in cereal production is concerning, and questioned the minister on interventions from the ministry to reverse the trend and increase production.

Lyonpo said that farm production has decreased but productivity has increased.

He said that cereal production has declined because of several factors such as human-wildlife conflict, irrigation water shortage, rural-urban migration,  labour shortage, land fragmentation and climate change, among others.

“So far, the governments focused on increasing agriculture production and none looked into market accessibility and strategy,” he said, adding that the lack of market discourages farmers from producing.

The ministry has been working on land development and management making it technologically friendly, according to the minister.

The ministry developed about 400 acres of land, made terraces on 270 acres and revived 522 acres of fallow land. It is also exploring an additional funds from donor agencies.

Lyonpo informed the House about the ministry’s plans and the various initiatives that it is carrying out to increase food production.

Some activities he highlighted are introducing technology to chase wild animals through smell and sound, identifying priority crops to grow in the country, bringing timely weather advisory services and strategising a market-led production.