MTR: Tsirang, the dzongkhag famous for vegetable production, is not doing so well with potato production.

The dzongkhag had the target of producing 1,600 metric tonnes of potato. According to the mid-term review, the dzongkhag could produce only 6.3 metric tonnes of potato.

Of the dzongkhag’s 12 gewogs only Doonglagang produced potato. Rest of the gewogs concentrated on other vegetables and livestock production.

Dzongdag Ngawang Pem said that ‘severe’ red ant attacks discouraged farmers from growing potato. Moreover, rice-based potato production was found less productive.  “Farmers’ interest has shifted to other niche products such as onion, cabbage, beans and chilli,” she said.

The dzongkhag, thus, suggested dropping potato production target from the 11th Plan. However, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgaysaid that the dzongkhag’s target was set too high and that only one gewog had focused on producing potato. The issue could be discussed and target reduced.

The dzongkhag also could not meet the fish production target of 10 metric tonnes (MT) annually. Last year, only 3MT of fish was produced. Prime Minister said production target could be reduced to 5 metric tonnes a year.

Two of the four key performance indicators (KPI) – infant and under-five mortality rate – are at risk. The dzongkhag reported seven infant and two under-five deaths last year. Delay in availing health care service, delay in bringing patients to hospital and shortage of beds in Damphu hospital were some of the reasons for not achieving the targets.

With 31 of the 55 KPIs achieved, the dzongkhag is on track towards achieving most of the targets. Twenty KPIs are on track.

Tsirang has excelled in achieving most of agriculture-related targets. While the target for producing vegetables, was set at 19MT, production figure of 1,211MT was reported. More than 1,756MT of milk was produced annually against the target of 1,00MT.

The dzongkhag produced 983,137 dozens of egg against the target of 1,000 dozens every year.

About 187MT of chicken was sold against the target of 50MT.

Tsirang has achieved about 97 percent mobile coverage; 98 percent of households are connected with safe drinking water; 96.5 percent of households have proper toilet facilities.

Of the Nu 291.9 million revised budget for last two financial years, the dzongkhag so far has utilised Nu 279.75 million so far.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang