Kelzang Wangchuk | Pemagatshel

Members of Nazhoen Sanam Sazhi Chey-chong Tshogpa (NSSCT), an agriculture group in Norbugang gewog, Pemagatshel are desperate. After successfully running the group for three years, the business is at risk of closing today.

In 2017, seven school dropout girls started mass agriculture farming in Tanzama village after leasing a private land. With the expiry of the three-year lease agreement on May 10 this year, the group currently does not have land to continue their business.

One of the members, Kunzang Cheki, said that the group earned about Nu 250,000 so far from growing paddy, chillies, beans and cabbages, among others.

“The business was very helpful for poor families like ours. However, with the landlord refusing to extend the lease agreement, we cannot continue doing this,” said Kunzang Cheki.

The members have written to the Nganglam drungkhag administration seeking support.

Kunzang Cheki said that they have requested agriculture officials to help them obtain government land on lease. “We are interested in agricultural farming and there is government land in Tanzama.”

For the time being, the group has cultivated chillies, beans, cabbages and nuts in a 30 decimal wetland that belongs to one of the group members.

The group recently sold more than 60 kilogrammes of chillies and would be soon taking the other vegetables to the market. A kilogramme of chilli was sold between Nu 200 to Nu 350.

“We started the group to achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural products and also to market in other dzongkhags. But today, we are left without land. We are all passionate about farming but sometimes it’s demotivating when there are issues like this,” said Sonam Norzom, another member of the group.

Other members said that since the private landlords do not lease out their land for more than three years, they are looking for government support.

Nganglam drungpa, Sherab Zangpo, said that a team consisting of land record and agriculture officers, among others led by the dzongdag visited a site and carried out verification. “But for now we cannot say whether the group would get the land.”