Less than a month after Tsirang formed a Priority Sector Lending (PSL) committee, at least 14 proposals have been assessed.

In a week’s time, these applications will be forwarded to financial institutions to process for loan. Had it not been for five projects that required further verification and feasibility study, all could have been sent for loan processing sooner.

Five of the 14 projects that required further verification are for piggery farming. The applicants proposed to rear between 40 to 100 pigs. This, PSL committee felt was too large in scope for single farmers. However, the department of livestock will study the technicality and feasibility of establishing it before the committee approves it.

Member secretary of the committee who is also the dzongkhag agriculture officer, Dorji Gyeltshen said that the project won’t be rejected but following recommendation from livestock sector’s study, the applicant will be advised to start with a slightly smaller number.

Another project on waste management requires leasing land, which is expected to take sometime. Few other proposals had incomplete documents and applicants have been asked to submit it within 10 days. “Otherwise we’re done approving the 14 projects,” Dorji Gyeltshen said.

The PSL committee has distributed 28 forms to date.

One of the most expensive projects the committee approved is yogurt processing and packaging. A graduate from Gosarling gewog proposed to establish a yogurt production firm and applied for a loan of over Nu 6 million. The money is required to buy machinery, packaging materials and setting up of the production unit.

While the lowest budget project proposed is worth Nu 60,000 to buy cardamom seedlings, land preparations and fencing. Other projects that have been approved include two poultry farms, two mushroom farming, a dairy farm, a floriculture business and a pickle and chips production firm.

The member secretary said that the number of people availing applications for PSL loans is increasing by the day. “These days we receive at least two applications a day,” he said. “More people are knowing about it and coming with proposals which is what we’re looking for.”

At the moment, PSL forms are available from the dzongkhag administration only but it will soon be made available from the gewog administration. The committee expects to approve at least 50 projects by the end of this financial year.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang