… proposes dissolution of the department for poor performance

Choki Wangmo   

The agriculture ministry is preparing a report on how its department, Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) can be revamped to improve performance.

This is following the organisational development (OD) exercise the Royal Civil Service Commission conducted last June where it proposed for the dissolution of the DAMC.

At the same time, the Cabinet has also directed the foreign affairs ministry to carry an independent review of technically affiliated organisations like DAMC.

The OD exercise has cited duplication of the DAMC’s roles with other technical departments such as agriculture and livestock departments in production and marketing of agricultural products. The proposal to dissolve the department, however, is also being reviewed by the Cabinet.

Consequent OD exercise reports in the past have  proposed dissolving the DAMC, but the Cabinet has recommended against dissolution and recommended revamping the system, according to RCSC’s annual reports. 

Reports from 2017 to 2019 stated: “… the DAMC was approved to continue on a regular basis by the 129th Commission Meeting held on April 17 2018 given the renewed mandate and RNR marketing policy in place.”

The OD implementation review report of 2016 dropped all other recommendations except the dissolution of DAMC. “The final recommendation was sent to the agriculture ministry as the Cabinet did not approve this dissolution,” the report stated.

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said that in the past the Cabinet did not approve the dissolution and instead recommended improving the department as it has important national mandates. However, Lyonpo said that there was no improvement in the function, and instead of organisation development exercise, RCSC was carrying out performance exercise.

“Is it the agency that needs dissolution or the change in the professionals working in the department?” Lyonpo said, adding that bringing in marketing experts in the department could help the department in proper public service delivery.

The department is mandated to transform RNR sector from subsistence to market-oriented farming to bring improvements in the rural economy while supporting economic and social empowerment through the development of farmers’ groups and cooperatives.

With the current pandemic situation, the department’s role has become indispensable when the agriculture sector is focused on creating proper marketing strategies for producers.

After recording zero growth in the department in 2015 and 2016, DAMC was put up for exercise review. Lyonpo said the department was ineffective and couldn’t achieve its objectives for the past 11 years. “If the department was efficient, they would be able to establish a demand-driven market and facilitate markets for agriculture and livestock departments now.”

Similarly, the last OD exercise also proposed the dissolution of regional livestock development centre due to duplication in roles. Lyonpo said there was a mismatch between the centre’s inception objectives–link stakeholders and relevant technical agencies for delivery of livestock development services to the communities of the region. But the centre is reported to be in production and marketing, according to Lyonpo.

OD exercise is a reform initiative of the RCSC to ensure optimal organisation of government and agencies mandated to achieve national goals.