… a statistical handbook provides specific details on various sectors

Chimi Dema

Farmers in Thimphu have much work to do if the dzongkhag is to reverse the decline in vegetable production and meet its annual performance target for this fiscal year.

Vegetable production in Thimphu has been dropping since 2016. According to dzongkhag’s statistical handbook 2019, production fell to 2,799 metric tonnes (MT) last year from 3,435MT in the previous year. In 2016, about 4,700MT of vegetables were produced in Thimphu.

The dzongkhag has pledged to produce about 3,700 in 2018-2019 financial year.

The vegetables produced were asparagus, chilli, cauliflower, bunching onion and garlic, among others. While the cultivated area remained almost the same over the years, the yield per acre dropped.

Cabbage production marked the biggest drop from 1,143MT in 2016 to 693MT in 2017 and to 556MT in 2018.

According to dzongkhag’s deputy chief agriculture officer, Sonam Zangpo, some of the factors that could have contributed to the decreased production were rural-urban migration, shortage of farmhands, inadequate supply of irrigation, and the ready availability of cheap imported goods in the market, among others.

“Currently, the dzongkhag’s agriculture sector is providing support in developing irrigation channels and other agricultural infrastructure including cold storage, farm shops, and extension centres,” he said.

To meet the production target of this fiscal year, the dzongkhag is supplying hybrid seeds, seedlings and technology to farmers as well as enhancing farmers’ capacity through training, Sonam Zangpo said.

The dzongkhag’s statistical handbook 2019 is the latest publication with data on various sector available from 2014 to 2018 besides agriculture.

Presenting a comprehensive and systematic collection of basic statistical information on the dzongkhag’s culture and socio-economic conditions, the handbook can serve as the principal source of information for planners, policy makers, researchers and academicians.

From the number of historical monuments to quantity of livestock production in each gewog, the publication contains a summary of important statistics, which have been presented under a number of subject headings.

The Principal Statistical Officer of Thimphu, Tenzin, who coordinated the publication, said that the main purpose of publishing an annual handbook was to present all important information of the dzongkhag in a concise format.

Tenzin said that the data validation, compilation and updating protocols were strictly observed with all the data providing sectors in the dzongkhag and other sources. Nevertheless, if detailed analysis or interpretation of the data, and brief notes under each subject could be included in the future editions, it could be helpful for the users.