Chencho Dema


Punakha – To celebrate the birth of Her Royal Highness the Gyalsem, a private citrus nursery was launched at Talo in Nobgang gewog, Punakha on September 16.

Sangay Cheki founded the nursery with the support of her husband Rinchen Pelzang, a technical advisor and founder of Druk Shingthog Gongphel Nursery, also known as Bhutan Seedlings.

Rinchen Pelzang said that he was happy and remains committed to providing high-quality citrus seedlings to farmers.

He said that there are specific requirements that must be met to establish a private citrus nursery in the country, including technological feasibility, latitude compatibility, experience and production capacity.

The nursery was the first private citrus nursery in Bhutan to receive approval from government officials, professionals, and researchers because it met these requirements and adhered to government-set SOPs, he said.

In Bhutan, citrus fruit is considered an extremely valuable product with the potential for substantial income to growers.

The mother plant house was established with Nu 0.5 million. The nursery has eight varieties.

For now, out of eight, three varieties are allowed for production and for commercial purposes: Wengkhar Tsalu Ngarm, Bears Lime, and T-13 Local.

Some of the other varieties in the nursery include Ngarm, Okitsu, Cara Cara, Atourer, and Hamlin.

The mother plant comes from the officially recognised national repository centre in Tsirang.

Inside the greenhouse, the seedlings are grown in Syntex barrels on concrete floors to prevent contamination.

The mother block has been established and production is expected to start soon. “We hope to supply 10,000 seedlings annually to private individuals and the government,” Rinchen Pelzang said.

According to Rinchen Pelzang, a state-owned citrus nursery in Trashiyangtse is struggling to meet the huge demand for seedlings in the country. He is hopeful that the nursery will be able to help citrus growers, mostly in the southern foothills, who are having difficulty maintaining their citrus trees due to a variety of circumstances.

The cost of the saplings varies according to their age.  Saplings that are younger than a year would cost Nu 100, while those that are older would cost Nu 150. Non-grafted saplings range in numeric value from Nu 40 to Nu 50.

Rinchen Pelzang, meantime, will travel to Kolkata next month to accept the Dr Abdul Kalam International Award for community and social services provided via agriculture.

The couple has continued their work in the nursery industry for more than 13 years.