Power tillers rusting idle due to shortage of spare parts in Trashigang

Most of the gewog power tillers in Trashigang have remained idle due to spare parts shortage. Some gewogs have even surrendered their power tillers. Out of the 43 power tillers, 18 broke down. Seven has been repaired, so far. 

Although the power tillers have served the farmers in paddy cultivation and other farming works, some of them can be seen parked in Gewog offices. They have started rusting after remaining idle for over a year due to a breakdown.

After facing challenges in management and due to difficulties in getting spare parts, a few gewogs have surrendered their power tillers to the farm machinery centre. Farmers said without designated power tiller operators, breakdowns become frequent.

“There are many farmers and one power tiller is not enough. But the problem starts when the power tiller breaks down,” said Dendup Tshering, a farmer in Phongmey Gewog.

The Gewog agriculture extension officials are in charge of the power tillers. They hire out the power tillers to farmers for Nu 1,500 a day.

“Only 20 to 25 per cent of the power tillers are functioning. The main issue is due to the lack of a full-time operator. The gewogs have to search for operators during the ploughing season. Moreover, once the machines get damaged, it is difficult to transport them to the farm machinery centre for maintenance and sometimes the centre delay the maintenance works,” said Dorji, district agriculture officer.

The farm machinery centre in Kanglung said they have been providing repair services in the field and even at the centre when major maintenance is needed.

“Through the Dzongkhag focal person, we used to get a list of power tillers with damages and we send it to our head office in Paro. If there are spare parts available in Paro, we place orders and immediately go to the site and replace them without much disturbance to their farm. However, if there are no spare parts in head office, then we have to procure from Japan and Thailand which takes about three to five months. Sometimes, it can go up to a year,” said Leki Dung, regional manager of FMCL.

The centre has plans to meet the newly elected Gups and discuss providing power tiller services from the centre. Trashigang received three types of power tillers in 2016 and 2018.

Sonam Darjay, Trashigang

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