Chimi Dema | Dagana
By the next two months, Dagana is expecting to harvest about 60 metric tonnes (MT) of ginger and 28MT of turmeric from its organic farming programme.
In an effort to encourage farmers to establish a productive organic farming system and cultivate in its fallow lands, Dagana agriculture sector initiated the programme to grow organic ginger and turmeric as focused crops in Tsendagang and Tsangkha gewogs.
As part of 2019-2020 fiscal year activity, the sector focused on ginger cultivation on 20-acre land and turmeric on nine and half-acre land in the two gewogs with support from the National Organic Flagship Programme (NOFP).
The NOFP supported the cultivation of ginger on five acres of land.
According to the dzongkhag assistant agriculture officer, Kinley Namgay, the other objective was to encourage farmers to produce for both the domestic and international market.
Farmer Leki Wangmo, who resigned from civil service, is one of the ginger and turmeric growers in Gangzor Maed chiwog in Tsendagang gewog.
About 25 minutes walk downhill from the nearest farm road end, her ginger field is filled with fruiting organic plants amid thick forest cover.
She said she would harvest it by February.
Driven by a lucrative business in the past, Leki Wangmo has grown ginger with her friend on three acres of land.
“I have grown the crop on a small scale in previous years and the income was good,” she said. “With support from the agriculture sector this time, I am growing even more.”
Although the market wasn’t a problem until this year, Leki Wangmo said that the pandemic and current market situation worries her. “However, I’m hopeful that the government would do something to help us as it is organic.”
She has grown the crop in an acre of land.
Another farmer, Thinley Lhendup, said that without enough water to grow paddy and chilli, he had taken up turmeric cultivation on his 50-decimal land this year.
In Gangzor Maed chiwog alone, seven households are growing turmeric on four and half-acre land.
While many farmers shared concerns of marketing their farm produce, Kinley Namgay said the sector is seeking help from the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives and NOFP to find the market.
“As the programme is ongoing, we would reserve some to supply as seeds for the next production,” he said. “We are also discussing with the NOFP to supply half of the total produce as seeds for organic production in other dzongkhags.”
Agriculture officials also said there is a market prospect for turmeric within the dzongkhag.
“We have two powder manufacturers here,” Kinley Namgay said.