Chimi Dema  | Dagana

Without wetland to cultivate paddy, farmer Gyem Dorji from Trongsa, who resettled in Tsangkha gewog of Dagana in February last year, has been growing vegetables and maize.

He, however, hopes to cultivate paddy next transplantation season, as an agriculture land development project, funded through the Green Climate Fund (GCF), developed 20 paddy fields on his 1.43-acre land.

“But we need irrigation water,” he said. “There is a water source and I need about Nu 30,000 to procure water pipes.”

He said that if there are more farmers in the chiwog interested to cultivate paddy, the agriculture sector is willing to support.

Another resident, Dechen Choden, is planning to develop wetland on about 50-decimal land.

Tsangkha is identified as a climate-smart model village and the project would convert 107 acres of dry land belonging to 55 households to wetlands.

As of the first week of this month, the project completed wetland development on about five acres of land.

The six-year project would also support farmers with technologies to promote climate resilient agricultural practices,  well as to integrate climate change risk data into water and land management practices that affect smallholder farmers.

The technology packages include poly house, rainwater harvest, drip irrigation, bio-digester and plastic mulching.

Dagana’s assistant dzongkhag agriculture officer, Kinley Namgay, said these technologies are expected to facilitate farmers growing winter vegetables and crops. “There is a shortage of irrigation water, especially for winter crops, today.”

The project would also do terracing to help farmers grow crops on commercial scale.

In Tsangkha, about 70 acres of land has been identified for terracing and 37 acres of land for hedgerow grass plantation.

As of last week, hedgerow grass plantation has been completed on about six acres of land belonging to 10 households.

Kinley Namgay said that land development in the gewog is expected to be completed by end of this year while hedgerow grass plantation would complete before next June.

Meanwhile, the project is also focusing on agriculture land development in Goshi and Drujeyegang gewogs.

In Goshi, wetland consolidation would be done on nine acres of land. So far, more than one-acre land has been consolidated.

According to the agriculture officer, farmers struggle to grow crops on commercial-scale without farm mechanisation although the gewog has climate-smart technologies in place. “Therefore, terracing would be done on nine-acre land identified for vegetable cultivation to facilitate mechanisation,” he said.

In Drujeygang, land development on about 225 acres land in Pangserboo is also expected to begin soon.

While the GCF project focuses only on land development in gewogs, Kinley Namgay said that the dzongkhag agriculture sector would support farmers with agricultural technologies.

The project would also support one chiwog in the five gewogs of Dorona, Geserling, Khebisa, Tseza and Lajab.

“The chiwogs would be planned on a priority basis,” Kinley Namgay said.

As the project runs into its second year, activities worth Nu 49.827M like supplying of 16 pre-fabricated poly houses and 34 rolls of plastic mulches, and construction of six bio-digesters for integrated pest and nutrient management are identified.

The project would also develop 224 acres of land and renovate three-kilometres Tshainzhigosa irrigation channel in Lhamoidzingkha. Poly house and bio-digester are supported on a cost-sharing basis where the project would support 80 percent of the cost and farmers bear the remaining 20 percent.

For bio-digester, nine corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets and other construction materials are provided and farmers contribute labours.

Last year, the project provided 52 rolls of plastic mulches, 15 poly houses, 18 silpaulin plastics and 12 drip line irrigations in identified gewogs.