Lhakpa Quendren

SARPANG – In the village of Lharing, Gakiling Gewog, Sarpang, 43-year-old Leela Maya Jaisi, now in her seventh year of commercial vegetable farming, diligently tends to her farm from dawn till late at night. Recently recovering from surgery in Thimphu, she shares her farming journey and the challenges she faces.

Leela Maya transitioned from self-consumption to commercial farming, and purchased a 50-decimal dry land in Senggey gewog from vegetable sales. As one of the 36 active members of the local vegetable farming group, she owns six acres, dedicating 3.50 acres to commercial vegetables, with the rest used for poultry farming, areca nut, and teak trees.

Leela Maya Jaisi and Padam Lal Khatri have been in commercial farming for seven years

Her diverse vegetable crops, including broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, chilies, radishes, and beans, thrive in subsidised greenhouses provided by the government. Notably, ginger cultivation on 50 decimals proved highly profitable, yielding Nu 150,000 this season.

Despite earning between Nu 10,000 to 20,000 weekly during peak seasons, Leela Maya acknowledges challenges. Water scarcity, addressed through a rainwater harvesting system, and the need for high-quality seeds pose ongoing difficulties.

“We sell the vegetables in Gelephu, without having to travel to Thimphu and other markets. Now, I have to work hard because the Gelephu project will open up new opportunities for agriculture,” she said with excitement.

Her farming not only sustains her family of five but also complements her husband Padam Lal Khatri’s poultry farm with 1,500 chicks. While Padam Lal sells eggs in Thimphu every 10 to 12 days, he eagerly anticipates the opportunities the upcoming Mindfulness City in Gelephu will bring, eliminating the need to travel to Thimphu for sales.

With the current egg market price at Nu 3,100 per carton, Padam Lal’s income, after expenses, is about Nu 4,000 weekly. The couple’s dedication to farming, even during the late night, exemplifies their commitment. They plan to expand their poultry farm in alignment with the future prospects in Gelephu.

Optimistic about the opportunities ahead, Padam Lal expresses confidence that the Gelephu project will eliminate extra expenses associated with trips to Thimphu. The couple, recognised for their unmatched passion by neighbours, not only saves money but also invests in their sons’ education, embodying resilience and hope in their pursuit of agricultural success.