Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse 

Farmers in eastern dzongkhags relied on mediators and agents for seeds every year. However, the quality of seeds they were provided was not always up to their expectations.

With the opening of a seed processing and packaging unit at Jachephu in Trashiyangtse, farmers are hopeful of getting better seeds.

According to an official from Jachephu Regional Seed Farm,  Lobzang Tshering T,  in the past, the seeds were sent to Paro for processing and packaging and then brought back to the centre which incurred huge expenses.

He said that the centre will ensure vegetable seeds are available and supplied to farmers at any time and under all circumstances.

“In the past, farmers had to wait for seeds. By the time the seeds reach them, it is too late to sow them. And then the seeds expire,” he said.

Supplying good quality and disease-free planting materials is important to improve crop yield and farmers’ incomes.

Officials said that instead of the seed growers and farmers bringing their seeds to the centre, the officials from the centre will collect the raw seeds from the villages.

Various manual winnowing methods are still practised to separate seeds of different sizes and configurations in remote villages. Now the centre will process and supply quality seeds.

Machines can process the vegetable seeds like radishes, peas, and almost all seasonal and perennial vegetables and supply quality seeds with size and configuration.

“Moisture content of the seeds is measured in the field before we collect the seeds,” said Lobzang. “To ensure packed seeds are in maximum germination percentage, the centre will do a germination test before packaging them.”

To maintain quality seeds, the centre will process around 500 to 600kg in a day. After processing, the seed will be packed and supplied to farmers at an affordable price.

Lobzang said they encourage farmers to make seeds when they have access to vegetables. “Farmers can also make a good income by turning their vegetables into seeds.”

The centre trained both organic and inorganic seed growers in six eastern dzongkhags. There are around 10 registered seed growers in these dzongkhags.

“With the establishment of this plant, we are looking forward to train more seed growers to make vegetable seeds available in the country.”

Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Programme-International Fund for Agriculture Development built the seed unit at a cost of Nu 7.68 million.