Lockdown and vegetable harvest in Thimphu

Nima Wangdi

Thimphu residents began growing vegetables in earnest because of Covid-19.

A few people were lucky enough to have their first fresh harvest before lockdown was enforced.

What’s happening to the gardens?

Beans have matured; chili and maize are maturing. Soon, if the lockdown prolongs, the vegetables will go to waste.

Sangchu has plots in owns two plots in Motithang and Wangsisina. He planted beans, cabbage and maize in Motithang, and chili, bean, pumkin, tomato and eggplant in Wangsisina.

“I don’t know what’s happening in the gardens now,” he said.

He was last in his garden in Motithang on August 10, the day before lockdown was imposed. “Some vegetables must have already started to rot,” he said. with his movement card, he can go only until Changangkha Lhakhang.

What does these worries measure up to? Are they big? Are the small?

A civil servant said he had a vegetable garden in Debsi. He planted vegetables fearing ban on vegetable import. “I planted turnit, radish, spinach and chili but cant go to harvest them due to lockdown.”

He received calls from his friends informing him about the vegetables being stolen in Debsi. He said he couldn’t risk going to check on his garden given the Covid-19 situation. “I may have to request the government to allow me to go there if I ran out of vegetables.”

A private employee who lives in Babesa said he could harvest vegetables from his garden in Ramtokto only once. He has been requesting Desuups to allow him to harvest his vegetables since the sixth of lockdown.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said people were calling him and the grievance cell saying that they were not been able to harvest their vegetables.

Those who have grown vegetables in commercial scale are allowed to harvest. Ministry of Agriculture will also buy the vegetables.

“But at the individual level, we cant allow people to travel around to harvest vegetables,” Lyonchhen said. “People should understand what is more important right now, the vegetable harvest or the pandemic.”

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