When the pandemic left Pema out of business, she remained idle at home for months. During the second lockdown, she decided to return to the farms.

The 36-year-old woman initially ran a hotel in Trongsa, but later ran a Karaoke in Dangdung, Langthel.

Today, she grows vegetables in her sister’s land in Koshala. “The yield is beyond my expectation.”

Her husband, who was working as a driver in Thimphu, also resigned and they expanded the farm. The gewog agriculture officials helped them prepare the farm.

According to the husband, Karma Wangdi, they had to hire around 220 people, provide them three meals a day and pay Nu 500 to 600 per day.

They grew small green chillies, tomatoes and onions on a trial basis.

“We want to reduce the import of chilli,” Pema said. “With many people looking for Indian chilli, locally known as jitsi ema, we are focusing on it.”

Karma Wangdi said they will grow the vegetable throughout the year, as their farm is located in a suitable climatic condition. It also has water.

The couple has to pay Nu 5,000 annually for lease land and they have the plan to expand the farm if they get empty land nearby.

The couple does not have to worry about marketing their produce, as vendors come to make a deal in the farm itself.

Pema said that even if her business reopens after the pandemic, they will focus on their farm.

Nim Dorji | Trongsa

Edited by Tashi Dema