With support of Nu 300,000 from the dzongkhag economic development office, a group of women in Geserling, Dagana, initiated orchid farming.
The dzongkhag economic development officer, Tshering Ngedup, said one of the prioritised activities in the current plan is to help communities of Dorona, Lajab and Geserling generate income through bamboo harvesting and producing bamboo and cane products.
He said as there was not much bamboo in Geserling, orchid farming was initiated as an alternative. “Orchids are abundant in the forest, but have not been sustainably managed so far.”
According to Tshering Ngedup, there is high demand for orchids in the market today. “Orchid farming was also initiated considering its medical benefits.”
He said that the location of the farm, which is near the new Dagapela-Dalbari highway, could also come as an advantage for the business.
Cymbidium species are currently available at the farm. There are over 1,000 plants including nurseries.
Farmers bought the seedlings from the market and harvested additional saplings from the forest with permission from the forest range office.
The group has 10 members today, but is open to interested individuals.
A housewife, Karma Choden, is a member of the group.
She said they grew vegetables in the past, but not orchids. “I am expecting to make some income from the sale of the orchids.”
Another farmer, Tashi Choezom, said she was excited about the farming, as it is the first of its kind in the gewog. “We’re hopeful to learn about orchids and its management while generating income.”
The group would create a joint bank account for saving and divide the income at the end of the year.
Any members joining the group need to contribute Nu 500 as the seed money.
Tshering Ngedup said that the official group forming is underway. “We’ll also fix a price for a plant.”
By Chimi Dema | Dagana
Edited by Tashi Dema