Chimi Dema | Tsirang
Hardworking and enthusiastic, Sanman Subba, the owner of Nuggo Farm in Tsirang is a model commercial farmer that many villagers in Sergithang look up to.
His endeavour in agribusinesses began about nine years ago with a small vegetable garden and a poultry farm of 50 chicks.
Today, his integrated farm spreads across more than 10-acre land in Tsirangtoed and Sergithang gewogs and boasts of dairy and piggery, besides vegetables.
His poultry farm has expanded over the years and has 3,500 egg-laying birds and 2,500 chicks.
Sergithang gewog’s agriculture extension officer, DB Ghalley sees Sanman Subba as committed and an adventurous farmer.
He said that when the rest of the villagers are reluctant, Sanman Subba does not hesitate to try new methods.
“Many will first see how it works and then will decide to grow on a larger scale only if it grows well,” he said.
Sanman Subba expects to double the vegetable production this season. He produced more than 40 metric tonnes, last year which earned him about Nu 800,000.
Before venturing into commercial vegetable farming, Sanman Subba worked as a domestic helper in three households in 10 years. He also worked at construction sites.
He pursued the idea of commercial vegetable farming to be independent in life.
“I began on a small leased land in my village,” he said. “I used to carry vegetables until the road point and travel by bus to sell them in Thimphu.”
What he earned from the trip encouraged him to continue.
His dream then was to employ his educated brothers who were working for others and start a family-owned farm and agribusiness.
With the technical guidance from the government and his own interest and perseverance, Sanman Subba is living his dream now.
Today, he has his brothers helping him handle the marketing aspects and keep accounts while he works on the farm. Besides employing his brothers, he also employs other villagers.
Sanman Subba grows varieties of vegetables including import banned vegetables like chillies and beans.
With the market outlet in Wangduephodrang, he supplies vegetables and eggs to the dzongkhag and Punakha twice a week. He also supplies to about six central schools across the dzongkhags.
He said that his monthly net income from selling vegetables alone is Nu 150,000 during the season.
His poultry farm produces nine cartons (210 eggs per cartons) daily which makes a profit of more Nu 100,000 in a month, after accounting for all of the utility and feed costs.
Given the promising market for eggs in the country, he is planning to add another 15,000 birds to the poultry farm. He is also exploring possibilities to expand vegetable farming.
He also contributed over nine metric tonnes of vegetables to the government recently.
Market accessibility was not a big problem for Sanman Subba in the past. However, he is facing difficulty in selling cabbages as schools remain closed.
“I can’t fetch good price even when our produce is organic due to availability of imported ones in the market,” he said. “This has affected my income this season.”
In addition, the erratic weather this time, he said is also affecting the yield.