Nima | Sarpang 

Without a reliable market to sell locally grown tomatoes and bulb onions, farmers in Singye gewog are worried that their effort and investment might go down the drain.

Six farmers from the gewog had availed CSI loan for commercial vegetable farming.  Many are worried about the repayment, as the local market is filled with imported tomatoes and onions.

A farmer from the Singye, Tashi, tried selling his first harvest, 25 kilos of tomatoes, last week in Sarpang.  He could sell only one kilogram of tomatoes.

He planted tomatoes on a commercial level for the first time in Singye with financial support from National Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) bank.

He said that it was worrying to learn about the market situation for local produce. “I started harvesting tomatoes but there are no buyers. Reducing the import of tomatoes when it’s locally available would help the farmers.”

He added that it was difficult to harvest the vegetable all at once, as they ripened at different times. “Monsoon is nearing and there’s a risk of crops going bad.”

Gewog agriculture extension officer, Thinley Wangdi, said: “We’ve been working closely with the dzongkhag agriculture sector regarding the marketing. If the import of tomatoes and onions is done like today, it would be difficult for local produce to find a market.”

Farmer Dhendup Tshewang said that it was expensive to grow bulb onion. “I spent over Nu 100,000 for workers and machinery. I’ll have to invest another Nu 100,000 to build a curing shed.”

He added that it would be difficult for him to repay the loan if he failed to harvest at least 60 quintals of bulb onion.

The official from the gewog agriculture extension office said the farmers group were linked with schools and institutions with the help of a relevant agency for the marketing.