Tshering Namgyal | Lhuentse

As a measure to tackle challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, Lhuentse dzongkhag has initiated an intensified programme to cultivate two Indian varieties of onions, Pune Red and Bombay Red.

The dzongkhag agriculture sector harvested about 64 MT of onion from major planting areas in four gewogs of Gangzur, Minjey, Tsaenkhar and Maenbi in the first harvest.

In another four gewogs of Kurtoe, Maedtsho, Jarey and Khoma, they grew onions for promotional and domestic consumption.

About five farmers’ groups from four gewogs were involved in commercial production of onion.

The largest among them was a 32-member farmers’ group in Thimyul under Gangzur gewog that grew onion in nine acres of land.

Others are a 15-member farmers’ group growing in three acres in Gangzur, five farmers’ group in Lekshogang in Minjey gewog in two acres, and Budhur and Domkhar has 12 farmers in six acres and 22 farmers’ group in four acres respectively.

The seeds were supported through Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Programme (CARLEP) project and economic contingency plan (ECP).

While some farmers began to sell the produce in the local market, most farmers who went on large scale production are currently curing them.

The dzongkhag agriculture sector has supported the farmers with the curing sheds.

The chief agriculture officer, Karma Chewang, said the dzongkhag has supported 22 curing sheds for the farmers’ groups. “We provide three sheds in Lekshogang, four in Thimyul, three in Gangzur, and 12 in Budur. The farmers’ groups were also taught about curing and storing process.”

A farmer from Budur, Tsheten, 56, whose 300 kg of onion from a langdo land are being cured said the curing shed has been beneficial.

He said in the previous years, some yields got damaged due to improper way of storing.

Dzongkhag agriculture officials said with curing and good storage, onion could last up to five months. However, the market is uncertain with customers preferring imported onions. As of now, boarding schools in the dzongkhag with whom the farmers’ groups have signed contract are the main market.

Agriculture officials said consultation meetings were held with the major boarding schools in the dzongkhag like Autsho and Tangmachhu central schools, Lhuentse High School and Minjey Middle Secondary School besides a few boarding primary and lower secondary schools.

The dzongkhag also boasts of growing chillies and tomatoes under protected cultivation as mandatory farming with the government and CARLEP project support.

The dzongkhag agriculture sector has supplied 54 greenhouses under ECP and 27 greenhouses under CARLEP project to groups and individual farmers this financial year.

According to agriculture officials, the groups and individual farmers were supplied with 139 greenhouses excluding 58 low cost ones between 2019 and 2021 on 20 percent cost. 

Edited by Tashi Dema