Commercial Spring Paddy to be continued

The commercial spring paddy cultivation initiated for the first time in the History of Bhutan was not a huge success in terms of yield yet it was very good opportunity for the implementer like FMCL to experience and gain knowledge for the coming and future programs. However, despite of many challenges encountered during the implementation period at different locations the office could managed to harvest 92, 500/- kg of paddy which would translate to 43, 475 kg of rice considering milling recovery of 47%. This would also mean a revenue generation of Nu.1.3 million taking the selling price of Nu.30/kg calculated with the initial yield targeted at 1200/acre. However, our final yield accounted to only 82 - 421 kg/acre in the places cultivated with spring paddy. The company is into a huge loss considering the expenditure of Nu. 10.77 million, incurred in cultivating 410 acres of paddy against the yield produced in the first year. 
The program has taught us very good lesson in terms of management, coordination and implementation. The biggest challenge faced in the first year includes poor management of labor, very severe weed infestation as we didn’t use any weedicides and agrochemicals, shortage of irrigation water happened due to major renovation of channel when the requirement of water was critical and drying of paddy as it coincided with peak rainy season. On the contrary, the management is extremely glad as we could create a bench mark in terms of area cultivation despite of lacking technical capacity in growing a huge area of spring paddy. FMCL is profoundly thankful for the opportunity bestowed on us in taking up the program. The initiative has also helped in reviving more than 100 acres of fallow land in the southern Dzongkhags which would definitely support in increasing the rice productivity and other crops in the rolling days and seasons to come. 
FMCL is very fortunate to get unremitting support and help from the Department of Agriculture (DoA) to continue with the spring paddy cultivation program. A meeting was organized in the capital involving experts from Research centers, Department and technical programs to discuss on the way forward based on the experience gained in the previous year. The meeting was chaired by Hon’ble Director, DoA/MoAF. The meeting has decided to cultivate 500 acres of spring paddy in the coming season in the three southern Dzongkhags namely Samtse, Samdrupjongkhar and Sarpang. We are hopeful to do better this time with the little experiences gained from the previous season and sincere commitment from the DoA especially on the technical aspect, which would ultimately help in increasing the food basket of the country in realizing the goal of rice self-sufficiency. 
The free support of seeds, agrochemicals and fertilizer will be continued from the Department of Agriculture. The management shall start preparing field beginning first week of December, 2018 for nursery and transplantation of the paddy after thorough consultation with DoA and other relevant stakeholders. We shall complete harvesting by the month of June as to provide enough time to prepare for normal paddy cultivation. We shall serve with Respect (R1) taking into the account of Responsibility (R2) assigned upon us with much Resilience (R3) due to unavoidable and human made circumstances. Finally we shall be Rewarded (R4) with bumper spring paddy harvest to help in reducing the import of rice from the neighboring countries. Let’s commit and dedicate with sincere heart!!!!!

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Updated on: 13th November, 2017