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Status on prospect of tea and rubber development in southern fringes

 In an efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) to explore optimal avenues to enable farmers generate cash income, which will have direct bearing on poverty reduction – the overarching theme of the current Five year plan – the Ministry is exploring prospect of tea estate and rubber development in the southern fringes of the Country.

Accordingly, the letter of intent issued by the Ministry and within the Terms of Reference provided by Laxey Investments, members from MoAF, Druk Holdings & Investment (DHI) and Goodricke Group Limited supported by officials and members of local community conducted a feasibility study. The study was currently confined to the areas within the Bhutanese region of Samdrup Jongkhar Dzongkhag.

Yesterday, the team presented their pre-feasibility report to the officials of the MoAF chaired by His Excellency (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho. The team presented their findings from the study visit they’ve made to the areas such as Khaurang,Golanti, Samrang and Betuli areas all under the Samdrup Jongkhar Dzongkhag.

The officials were briefed on possible future development recommendations, land, small holder Development, Utilities, labour, detailed composition of area and financial costs of four individual areas. The team during the briefing expressed the need of full soil analysis in the areas before venturing into tea and rubber development in these possible areas.

The Hon’ble Lyonpo reminded the team that the Ministry’s intention is not just to develop tea estate and rubber in the areas but encourage farmers to use their land productively. He said that the team must see into how to get farmers in the areas actively involved. Mr. Kailash Pradhan, Chief Research Officer of CoRRB, who is the member of the team assured and ascertained of the farmers’ willingness to participate in the venture.

The detail feasibility of such initiative will be done and accordingly present the updates.

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