Nim Dorji | Trongsa
The two central dzongkhags of Trongsa and Bumthang are witnessing a green revolution.
Over hundreds of acres of fallow lands that remained barren for decades in these two dzongkhags have been converted into farmlands today.
Of the many projects, the Wobthang Organic Wonders popularly know as the WOW initiative in Tang, Bumthang has become an inspiration for many to take up agriculture.
Thirty-five acres of land in Wobthang has been converted into a fertile landscape for cultivation recently. An initiative of the opposition leader Dr Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) and his partners, WOW aims to produce organic produces.
The project in collaboration with local government and the agriculture ministry will expand the existing community diary farm by providing improved pasture grown at Wobthang.
According to officials, should things work as per the plan, the WOW farm could eventually become a training and development centre for commercial farming in the country.
Also, more than 15 acres of land at Gorthak in Chumey, Bumthang is being prepared for cultivation. The land had remained fallow for more than 15 years.
Villagers said that given the severe human-wildlife conflict in the area, they could not effectively use the land. Majority of the people here depend on weaving yathra (wool) products.
The gewog administration has conducted land reclamation in the area on a cost-sharing basis with villagers.
Chumey gup Jamphel said that there were several acres of land left uncultivated. The gewog has also prepared more than 15 acres of land for cultivation in other chiwogs.
The gewog last year reclaimed around 10 acres of land for cultivation. People will grow buckwheat and wheat. Potatoes would also be grown.
In Trongsa, the farm machinery centre has started a farming project called the Phaithang Eco Agro Farm (PEAF). The project is reclaiming around 50 acres of fallow land for large-scale commercial farming.
The farm will produce the currently banned vegetables such as beans, chillies and cauliflower. Officials said that the farm would make sure that all these vegetables are made available in the country.
To generate interest among youth to take up farming, PEAF has also started a month-long programme ‘Earn and Learn’ about a month ago. Under the programme, agriculture experts are called to provide practical and theoretical lessons to the participants.
Officials said that the farm would also supply tomatoes for a year throughout the country from its greenhouse.
A recent class XII graduate, Tshering Lhamo will join five other youth from the village for the project.
Project director, Jitshen Wangchuck, said that the project was started to fulfill the national goal of food self-sufficiency. The project will recruit youth who are interested to take agriculture.
He said that in the beginning the farm would be supplying the products to Trongsa dzongkhag and gradually begin to supply to the hospital and dratshang. The project will also serve as a collection centre, where farmers can sell the surplus products.