Farmers get irrigation to grow potatoes

Farming: Potato once was a cash-minting crop for farmers of Kheri in Trashigang. Lack of water compelled the farmers to give up growing the tuber for last few years.

But with the upcoming of micro irrigation system (MIS) potato cultivation is expected to comeback. Work worth Nu 2.9 million has been awarded and construction of two reservoirs has already started.

Department of agriculture (DOA) engineer Nidup Tshewang said the central programme is a pilot project aimed to provide efficient irrigation system to farmers. Kanglung farmers have also adopted the MIS.

“The whole idea is to revive potato cultivation in over 22-acre dry land left fallow for years in the two villages,” he said. “Through the programme, farmers would be able to harvest potato in about two months. It would enhance their cash income.”

A villager, Dawa Tshering, said the 10 households in Kheri have left their land fallow for almost five years. In the past, farmers would cultivate paddy and potatoes.

“There was no farm road then. The villagers would carry bags of potatoes to the town. After the water sources started drying up, farmers shifted to dairy farming,” said Dawa Tshering.

In October 2015, DOA and the farmers signed an MoU with a condition that 10 percent of the total cost should be borne by the beneficiaries.

The department will provide technical assistance. Once the pipes are connected from the source to the fields, sprinkler and drip irrigation facility would be installed.

“Since acres of land remained fallow, there were also plans to supply pipes from the gewog for irrigation in Kheri. Now with the intervention of DOA, farmers would be benefitted a lot,” said tshogpa of Pam village.

The government of India is funding the project.

Tshering Wangdi | Trashigang

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