Agriculture: Farmers in Samkhar in Trashigang were busy growing potatoes. But Sherab Dema focused her attention on producing vegetable seeds.

Sherab Dema gets busy in her garden growing vegetables. In another six months, her vegetables will be ready for seed production.

It all started after she became a member of a vegetable group in her village. In 2009, when RNR-RDC, Wengkhar, trained two members from the vegetable group on how to produce vegetable seeds, Sherab Dema got seriously into it.

“Growing vegetables alone was not sustainable. I had to figure out something else. The opportunity came and I grabbed it,” she said. “Since I was already growing vegetables in large quantities, it was easier for me to shift to seed production.”

Today, Sherab Dema makes good income from selling vegetable seeds. She earns about Nu 30,000 in good season. She is associated with the National Seed Centre (NSC), which buys almost 70 percent of the seeds.

“Every year, I sell about 500 to 700 packets of seeds. Cost ranges from Nu 20 to Nu 35,” Sherab Dema said. “I pack the seeds myself and the labels come from Wengkhar.”

Apart from NSC, she also sells her products to seed growing farmers in other dzongkhags.

“Some are sold within the village. I manage to sell about 90 percent of the total production in a year,” Sherab Dema said. “Seed growers from the eastern region also gather at Wengkhar from time to time to talk about progress and discuss issues.”

However, heavy rainfall, pests and birds damage almost 30 percent of her vegetables every year.

Sherab Dema said she is discussing with RNR-RDC to find out way of reducing such damage.

“The biggest problem is with birds because they eat up vegetables right away from the fields,” Sherab Dema said. “We have asked the centre to provide us nets and materials to construct a green house.”

Phuntsho Choden, a villager, said that Sherab is setting an example in the village. “I also want to grow seeds like she does.”

Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang