Nima | Gelephu

Shariphu Women’s Group in Singye gewog, Sarpang will start producing biodegradable plates using areca nut leaves.

The officials from dzongkhag administration, gewog, and Tarayana Foundation inaugurated the project unit yesterday.

Tarayana Foundation supported the establishment and maintenance of the machinery and equipment.

The group has 15 members: 14 women and a man.

Yangchen Dema, a member, said that the unit will help engage women in economic activities. “It is going to empower women and help them be independent.”

Decaying areca nut leaves, she said, became a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “We want to promote environmentally friendly initiatives in the dzongkhag.”

The dzongkhag administration and thromde are expected to help the group with marketing. Tarayana Foundation will provide training and help the group market the products.

The project took time to materialise after two field officers who were supposed to implement the project resigned and the machine was left without proper care.

Maintenance and production house improvement cost Nu 700,000.

Most people from the remote village in Singye depend on areca nut for cash. There are over 35 households in Shariphu.

While the nuts are exported, leaves from areca nut trees are usually discarded.