English | Dzongkha Friday, July 20, 2018

Promote maximum land utilisation for crop production, NC says

Sonam Choden, Kinley Yangden & Sangay Chenzom, Thimphu
Nov 23, 2016

promote-maximum-land-utilisation-for-crop-production-nc-saysThe Natural Resource and Environment Committee of the National Council recommended the agricultural and forests ministry to promote maximum utilisation of land for crop production.

The Committee’s finding show; more than 62 percent of arable land is fallow despite majority depending on agriculture for livelihood.

The National Land Commission records Bhutan has around 450,000 acres of arable land available. Of the total, only 38 percent is used for vegetable and cereal production.

“Fragmented land, human-wildlife conflict, lack of market to sell the produce, and lack of financial support are some of the reasons why most of the land is left fallow,” said the committee’s chairperson, Jigmi Rinzin.

He also said rural-urban migration adds to the problem

The committee reported the country continues to import rice although almost 27,000 acres of wet land is still unused.

“We would be able to reduce the import of rice by 45 percent if all the arable land is used,” said Thimphu’s NC MP, Nima Gyeltshen.

He also said it is difficult to record the amount of rice being imported because it is not taxed.

Chhukha’s National Council Representative, Pema Tenzin said cultivable land is decreasing annually.

From 300,000 acres of cultivable land, the number has come down to about 100,000 acres in the last decade.

Despite the decrease in use of wet land, crop production increased in the last decade.

Investment in irrigation, improvement in rice varieties, and farm mechanisation are the reasons attributed to the increase.

The National Council will continue to review the Agriculture Policy tomorrow.

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