Nim Dorji 

The Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL) has developed around 45 acres of land for commercial vegetable cultivation in Wangray, Tangsibji gewog.

The project has been developed with the support of Nu 13 million (M) from the United Nations Development Partner (UNDP). The fund is being spent on the development of land, a chain-link fence and a greenhouse.

The project, which started four months ago, will be fully operational in the next five to six months.

The UNDP Resident Representative in Bhutan, Azusa Kubota, said that the fund was part of the UNDP’s support for the country’s Covid-19 response and food self-sufficiency programmes.

She said that the government had paid special attention to food self-sufficiency in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and that the focus had been particularly on three products—onions, tomatoes and chillies.

With youth employed in the project, the project is expected to raise the reputation of agriculture farming as a profession. The project has recruited 21 youths.

Azusa Kubota said that she had seen many committed and hardworking youths getting their hands dirty. “This will be an inspiration for many young people in Bhutan who are interested in working in the agriculture sector,” she said.

The project’s director, Jitshen Wangchuk, said that the project would focus on the production of vegetables that are imported year-round.

Locals can also hire farm machinery from the project.

“Many people leave their land fallow in winter, but we can grow vegetables year-round with the use of modern technology and materials. We will supply nurseries to not only locals but also those interested to grow vegetables using modern farming technology,” he said.

Tangsibji Gup Gyembo Dorji said that around five acres of land belonging to locals were left barren for more than 15 years. The fallow land, he said, was being developed for cultivation by the project.

The land was left barren due to wild animal infestation, according to the gup. A farm road, which reaches the project site, is also expected to benefit locals.

Around 100 greenhouses will be constructed for the cultivation of tomatoes and the plantation of the nursery. The development of land and the construction of around 20 greenhouses have been completed.

There is a plan to open a regional office of FMCL in the area in the future to provide machinery services to people in the region.