Ginger – A struggling cooperative’s long shot

Agriculture: Almost two years after it was launched, Pemathang gewog’s vegetable cooperative, Tshesey Gongphel Dhetshen, is failing.

The cooperative has so far been able to save only Nu 600.

The 10-member cooperative is now planning on growing ginger on a six-acre land that the cooperative acquired from the government.

The members expect to earn more from ginger.

Tshesey Gongphel Dhetshen was formed to promote local vegetables, and to help farmers make some income from their fields.

But the group could harvest only about half the vegetables it had cultivated.

Dorji Wangchuk, 56, said the cooperative started with 150kg of potatoes but could harvested only about 80kg.

Cooperative members blamed shortage of water for the poor harvest.  But vegetable yield was poor even after an irrigation channel was maintained.

‘We had to switch to profitable cash crop,’ said Dorji Wangchuk.  The cooperative also faces steep competition from across the border.  Shopkeepers bring vegetables from Dadhgari and sell at a cheaper price.

Members deposit Nu 200 every May and December to keep the cooperative alive.  The cooperative has also bought a power tiller at a subsidised rate.  Each member had to pay Nu 7,800.

The gewog office has provided the cooperative with 666kg of ginger seedlings worth Nu 50,000.

The cooperative has plans to export ginger if the harvest is good.

“Agriculture sector will help the cooperative package and market their produce,” Wangchuk, the agriculture extension officer, said.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar 

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