Eight years ago, villagers of Singeygang (Hangay) in Tashichholing (Sipsu), Samtse, saw a dream project of a mass coffee cultivation take shape in the locality.

It gave local residents the hope to be a part of it to gain economically.

However, the cultivation that stretches about 97 acres of land has failed to produce any returns. The coffee was never harvested.

The coffee plantation project is under Samphel Norbu Coffee Private Limited.

Locals said the company has not harvested as expected in the last two years.

A former worker at the plantation, Dhanya Prasad Sharma, said coffee could not be harvested because of the management here. “All works were done improperly.”

He alleged that the manager never listened to the workers’ views. “It is because of his mistakes that the coffee project did not do well.”

The manager did not answer Kuensel’s phone calls despite repeated calls.

At the site, the coffee plants are struggling to show any yields. Although the trees have grown, the fruiting is not positive, with many trees not bearing fruits.

The trees grown around the coffee plants for shade has also overgrown and the land has become a thick bush today.

Singeygang tshogpa, Ram Prasad Sharma, said that works on the project have stopped for some time now.

“But I don’t think it has completely shut down,” he said, adding that the project was not successful as expected. “I think another project such as dairy farming should start in that area.”

The residents claim that the plantation has, in fact, become a hideout for wild animals.

A resident, KN Sharma, said hares, wild boars, and elephants hide in coffee plants. “The animals are destroying our areca nut saplings.”

Singeygang in Tashichholing is among the most affected areas by elephants in Samtse. Many farmers have left the lands fallow due to the conflict with the elephants.

Villagers say the coffee plantation’s thick bushes have increased the number of hares that are causing a problem in the farms. 

Rajesh Rai | Sipsu