400 More Power Tillers to be Distributed

“The Agriculture Ministry not only procures the power tillers, but they follow-up by making sure that people are trained and machines are put to good use. Out of 205 Gewogs in the country, 175 Gewogs reported immense benefits by the distribution of power tillers in their respective Gewogs."

Bhutanese farmer moving a power tiller in Bumthang District of Bhutan. (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxle34LMfk8)

 

Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that although it has been around almost 34 years since the introduction of Power tillers in Bhutan, there were people in some parts of the country who have just heard about the machine but have never seen it physically as it was mainly the well-off who could procure it in the past.

The statement was made in response to a question, soliciting government’s view on the claims supposedly made by people in some of the Gewogs on not having reaped any benefits from the distribution of power tillers and that the charges levied by government to hire power tillers were exorbitant.

“The Agriculture Ministry not only procures the power tillers, but they follow-up by making sure that people are trained and machines are put to good use. Out of 205 Gewogs in the country, 175 Gewogs reported immense benefits by the distribution of power tillers in their respective Gewogs."

Some gewogs were not able to harness the potential of the power tillers

However, 30 Gewogs were not able to harness the full use of the power tillers distributed by the government as they had alternate options unlike the other 175 Gewogs,” said Lyonchhen.

Lyonchhen added that for some of the Gewogs which had been deprived of power tillers due to geographical terrains, the government improvised by distributing mini-power tillers.

“However, the benefits of the power tillers cannot be dismissed on the basis that few sections of the people were not able to access the service only due to the aforementioned challenges.”

The government has so far distributed 455 power tillers in the Gewogs and 400 more power tillers would be distributed within the next two or three months in order to ensure that every Chiwog in the country will at least have one power tiller each.

“None of the Gewogs came forward claiming that power tillers are not beneficial during distribution. If the use of power tiller is not viable for agricultural purposes, the machinery can also be used for carrying goods, water pumping, among other benefits.”

Lyonchhen also clarified that government power tiller charge Nu 1400 for a day of usage while it is Nu 400 or 500 per hour for the usage of private power tillers.

The agricultural sector has benefited a lot from the usage of power tillers

“The agricultural outcome has been improving immensely every year, which is an indication that our people in the villages are working extra hard, and the other reason could be due to the help rendered by the government to support agricultural activities like the distribution of power tillers among many other initiatives,” said Lyonchhen.

According to the findings from farm mechanism programs initiated in the Gewogs, it has been learnt that a total of around 11,990 acres of fields have been tilled by the use of power tillers so far.

 

By Sonam Yangdon (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared in The Bhutanese.

 

 


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