MTR: Although infrastructure development has played a significant part in shaping the communities, it is the growth of agricultural activities in particular, from which the people of Samtse and Chukha have largely benefited.

Along with the increased food self-sufficiency, villagers in Samtse and Chukha made good income in the first half of the 11th Plan. This is according to the mid-term review of the two dzongkhags that was held recently.

People of Samtse and Chukha grow cardamom and potato for cash crops. Samtse alone was able to produce 934 metric tonnes (MT) of cardamom. Of the dzongkhag’s 15 gewogs, Norgaygang produced 311MT of cardamom – the highest – followed by Dophuchen with 144MT.

Cardamom price ranges between Nu 45,000 to Nu 70,000 per 40kg in the market.

Considering the average market price at Nu 55,000, Samtse exported cardamom worth more than Nu 1.2 billion. According to the report, a total of 250,000 saplings have been distributed.

Informing the people that the government is ready to support rural development, Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said that the people have made good use of the resources, and urged the people to work harder. “These achievements will benefit the people.”

Cardamom is also fast becoming the top cash crop in Chukha. According to the report, nine out of 11 gewogs in Chukha have harvested 256MT of cardamom.

This is 141 percent increase from the production target of 106MT.

Getena Gewog in Chukha harvested 40MT of cardamom, the highest in the dzongkhag. Cardamom production in the dzongkhag is expected to increase by large percentage in the second half of the Plan.

Chukha produced about 6,061MT of potato, surpassing the production target of 5,762MT. The dzongkhag produced 3,348MT of mandarin against the target of 2,800MT.

However, Samtse could not meet the orange production target due to citrus greening. The dzongkhag was able to produce only 1,083MT of mandarin against the target of 3,800MT.

Samtse has achieved 27 out of 55 identified targets. About 26 targets would be achieved in the second half of the Plan. Chukha has achieved 32 out of 55 targets, 14 targets are on track, and nine at risk.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay stressed on the rural development in both the dzongkhags and asked the people to refrain from adopting corrupt practices.

“People in the rural areas will never benefit from corruption,” he said, explaining that only the influential lot will benefit.

Rajesh Rai | Samtse