At the crack of dawn, Leki Wangmo descends into the vast watermelon fields in Berti village, Zhemgang covering them with hay.

Hay is used to help watermelons grow faster and to prevent birds from eating them.

Leki Wangmo, 43, sowed the seeds in March and today the plants have started to fruit and are growing.

Leki Wangmo is seen working hard to get the watermelons ready for the Khengrig Namsum Cooperative’s Watermelon Festival next month in Thimphu.

More Goling farmers are attracted to growing watermelons

She said that she planted more watermelons, across an acre, since the cooperative is hosting the festival. She used to grow only a few decimals earlier.

The mother of six is hopeful that she will be able to earn more income this year.

Over the years, watermelon has become a main source of income for the villagers and with the upcoming festival they are hopeful for their business to go well. Last year she earned more than Nu 250,000.

Likewise, farmer Leki Dorji from Goling village has increased his cultivation to one acre and he hopes to double his income this year.

He said that he is working hard in watermelon production since there is no problem in selling them.

After the success in Berti, watermelon cultivation has become popular in Goling village with 60 households already growing watermelon spread across five acres.

The chairperson of the cooperative, Thinley Wangdi said that the watermelons will be harvested in June and the cooperative is ready for the festival.

He said that the festival will be held on the birth anniversary of Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen.

He said the festival is to promote the watermelons from Zhemgang and to improve market access.

He said they have plans to make it an annual event.

Last year the cooperation produced 60 metric tonnes of watermelon and sold to hoteliers and schools.

The cooperative provides seeds and farming tools to members. It buys the watermelons from farmers ensuring the quality of the produce.

Khengrig Namsum Cooperative has around 230 registered members.