The number of farmers taking up commercial farming has almost doubled

Nima | Gelephu

The number of farmers taking up commercial winter vegetable farming has doubled in Shompangkha, Sarpang but there has been shortage seedling supply.

Today, there are three farmers’ groups growing vegetables and cereals on a large scale in Shompangkha.

Lhakpa Tamang from Shompangkha worked as a contractor before the pandemic. He is now into commercial vegetable farming and hopes to produce over five tonnes of chilli this winter.

But, the challenges are mounting by the day for the first-timer.

“There is no adequate supply of seedlings and the quality of seeds supplied leaves much to be desired. Some seedlings did not even grow well,” he said.

He added that there is a need for proper irrigation support when farming is done at the commercial level. “I was told that we would be supported with mulching plastics and water supply line. Nothing of that sort has come yet,” said Lhakpa Tamang.

Gewog agriculture extension officer, Madhu Devi, said: “The gewog supports farmers with basic materials such as seeds and mulching plastics. This time the demand was more but we managed to provide them the seeds with the support from dzongkhag.”

She added that the prolonged rainy season this time damaged most of the seedlings.

Farmers said that they managed to get the required seeds from across the border before the pandemic.

Almost 98 percent of the households in Shompangkha are into backyard farming, according to the gewog extension office.

Madhu Devi said that there were complaints from farmers regarding the packaged seeds. “Some failed to grow as expected. This could be because of many factors. But the seeds are of the same quality we used to supply before.”

Thakur Prasad Homagain of Sanam Phendey group said that farmers needed quality seeds.