Phub Dem

Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL) has converted acres of fallow lands in Nyelsiphu of Dopshari, Paro, and established it into a biggest mega farm.

Although FMCL proposed cultivating 10 acres of land, it demarcated only four acres for cultivation now.

According to FMCL officials, the farm is equipped with modern facilities to set a model farming in the country with about seven mega greenhouses with semi-automated irrigation facilities.  It will also have mixed fruit orchard and hydroponic technology.

FMCL’s deputy general manager of the service department, Jitshen Wangchuk, said the mega farm will be a demonstration site for farming enthusiasts and youths to take up agriculture as their enterprise.

He said that although individuals and private entities are taking commercial farms, there are not many practising in greenhouses. “FMCL felt the need for megastructures for better crop cultivation and production, having ventured into commercial farming for the past five years.”

Apart from hiring services, FMCL is mandated to venture into commercial farming to support the transitioning from commercial to subsistence farming and increase food production and productivity to achieve self-sufficiency.

Jitshen Wangchuk said although FMCL’s head office is based in Paro, there was no mega farm in the dzongkhag.

Unlike other commercial FMCL farms, he said that the mega farm at Paro will operate with smart irrigation system and it has installed FMCL’s design and fabricated greenhouse.

He said that considering the significant crop import from neighbouring countries, the farms would grow small chillies and tomatoes in summer and crops such as cauliflower and broccoli during winter as Paro does not grow these vegetables in winter. “The farm will initially try to supplement the two vegetables in Paro.”

Moreover, FMCL has also proposed the construction of a 32 mega greenhouse (24m x100m) to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest to install at Zomlingthang, Samdrupjongkhar, Gantokha and Lhamoizingkha to grow tomatoes throughout the year.

As of today, there are nine commercial farms with 786 acres.

The farm plans to grow small chillies and tomatoes in summer (Photo: FMCL)

FMCL’s initiatives during the lockdowns

FMCL was engaged in school feeding programmes since the announcement of the lockdown. The corporation had supplied vegetables to four schools in Paro functioning under containment mode for a month.

According to Jitchen Wangchuk, FMCL supplied potatoes and tomatoes from its farm in Trongsa and Bajo.

He said that FMCL delivered around 4,300 kilogrammes of vegetables to the schools, adding that most products were local farm produce.

The team also provided hiring services for ploughing and nursery preparation for paddy cultivation to six upper gewogs of Paro recently during the lockdown. FMCL deployed farm machinery to more than 200 households covering 200 acres during the lockdown.

He said that hiring services were coordinated with approval from the dzongkhag task force committee with a standard operating procedure.