Nim Dorji | Trongsa
For more than three decades over 24 acres of wetland belonging to 33 households in Lingdi village, Trongsa remained fallow. Bushes turned into large trees. The once fertile fields became a thick forest.
Lingdi is around 5km from Dangdung and has only three households today.
Seven individuals from Dangdung took upon themselves to revive the fields and called it Lingdi Organic Farm.
After clearing the vegetation and developing the land for cultivation the group has started paddy transplantation recently.
Of the 24 acres, four acres is maize and another four for paddy. Two acres will be used for asparagus and sweet and bitter buckwheat grown in the rest.
The leader of the group and former National Council member from Trongsa, Tharchen said that the project was initiated to contribute towards the national food security, revive the fallow land and to create employment for the young.
However, after announcing vacancies, no youth turned up. The group also didn’t get the loan for the farm.
The project is estimated to cost Nu 2 million (M). Of that Nu 1M was supported by the national organic flagship programme. The other half is from the members and other sources.
The team started the project on May 18 and is left with electric fencing to complete the set up.
“The policy statement made by the central government and the guidelines followed at the grassroots level should go together,” Tharchen said.
For instance, the government announced getting low-interest loans for farming from the National CSI Bank, however, the bank follows a different guideline.
The group has been waiting for more than three months to get a loan.
He said that the ultimate goal of all the farming projects in the country is to ensure food security. There are no funding sources for the projects.
The group has plans to make farming tourism as an educational package for the youths in the future. They will prepare a guest house so the students can visit the farm and learn practically.
The land is leased for 10 years from the owners, but the group wants to hand over the farm to interested youths.
The paddy fields were left barren due to shortage of irrigation water, lack of farm road and rampant human-wildlife conflict.
The village is connected with irrigation water, and farm road a few years ago.
A villager of Lingdi, Chimi Choden’s an acre of wetland which was left fallow, has been converted for cultivation and she wants to work on the farm in the future.
Jamtsho, another villager, said that the younger generation was uninterested in farming which further forced them to leave the fields fallow.
“The youths should take up farming,” he added.
The various crops from the farm are expected to fulfil the needs in the locality because at present they import everything. Even grains to brew alcohol.
Trongsa dzongkhag, Langthel gewog and agriculture ministry supported the project.