Agriculture: The ginger fields are looking healthy to the farmers of Pacchutar in Phuentsholing gewog.

The farmers expect a bountiful harvest and unlike this year, expect the price of the cash crop to rise next year.

Ginger farming in Pachhutar and other places in Phuentsholing gewog has picked up pace.

Easy accessibility to the Phuentsholing town market is a major reason for farmers choosing to cultivate ginger today.

But Pachhutar was once renowned for growing oranges, not ginger. Today, orange trees are rare in the gewog.

Farmer Dawa Dupka, 38, is cultivating ginger for the first time. He has planted 150kgs of ginger. “I used to stay at Bangay Bazaar and could not concentrate on ginger farming,” he said. “I hope everything will be fine.”

Ginger farming is proving more lucrative than many other cash crops grown in other southern areas of the country.

Another Pachhutar resident Gahasingh Rai is expecting his 650kg of ginger to double and triple. “Weather is not much of a problem when it comes to ginger farming,” he said, explaining that yield depended on care of the crop.

Another farmer, Prem Bahadur Mongar said that continuous rainfall would not have much impact on ginger plants. “But it is the rain and sun that appear in quick intervals that spoil the plants,” he said, adding that too much of such intervals can rot the roots of the plants.

Prem Bahadur Mongar has planted 600kg of ginger this year. In the last season, he harvested 2,700kg from 1,000kg of ginger planted. However, the prices in the market had been disappointing, he added.

Gahasingh Rai, who has been cultivating ginger for many years, harvested 550kg (excluding seedlings) in 2014 from just 70kg of seedlings.

In Pachhutar and other places such as Lingden, Serena, and Sadhu Madhu, the majority of the farmers grow between 2,000-4,000kg of ginger.

Phuentsholing gewog gup Chandra Bahadur Ghalley said ginger is the main cash crop in the gewog today. “Ginger is the cash crop in the lower belts of Phuentsholing gewog, while cardamom is in the higher areas,” the gup said. “People do not concentrate on growing oranges anymore.”

The only problem people face in farming ginger is manure, Gup Chandra Bahadur Ghalley said. This is because farmers have stopped keeping cattle.

In the last mid-term review, it was presented that Phuentsholing gewog had sold about 403 metric tonnes of ginger.

Meanwhile, farmers have begun to uproot the ginger seedlings, which also can be sold in the market at Nu 35 a kilogramme.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing