Irrigation: First secretary of the Embassy of Japan in New Delhi, India, Takuma Hisanaga, and Mongar dzongdag Ugyen Sonam inaugurated a 4km irrigation channel at Wengkhar in Mongar that was renovated recently.

The channel will benefit more than 140 households.

Renovation works were carried out at two locations – 2.2km at Khasheri and 1.8km at Tokpaling

Ugyen Sonam said that this will encourage the farmers to continue farming. This initiative is expected help produce at least 64 metric tonnes of rice and reduce import substitution by 0.14 percent.

The gewog and dzongkhag administrations will have to continue supporting the farmers achieve this vision of the project, said Ugyen Sonam.

Takuma Hisanaga said that over 20 years have passed since the establishment of the scheme, Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GGPI has been widely applied to many developing countries in an increasing volume. Bhutan is also a beneficiary of GGP.

Mongar’s gewog Mangmi, Tenzin Wangchuk, said that in the past, floods washed the earthen channel away, after which few farmers focused on growing paddy.

Norbu, a 68-year-old farmer said that after the flood people had to depend on rain to grow rice for about 10 years. Some farmers left their land fallow. “Now we can grow rice again.”

Farmers expressed their gratitude to Japan and the government for all the support they have received.

Tashi Phuntsho | Mongar