Neten Dorji | Trashigang

Farmers in Radhi, Trashigang, started cultivating vegetables on large scale to minimise import and to supply to other gewogs in the dzongkhag.

The farmers, who formed a group called ‘Chuthawong commercial vegetable group’, started cultivating in 27 acres of land, some of which were left fallow until now.

A member, Choining Wangmo, said that soil is fertile and all types of vegetable could grow. “While government supports everything, we are taking the opportunity to grow vegetables on a large scale.”

She said with the uncertainty of when the Covid-19 pandemic would end, it is the right time to grow vegetables and earn.

She joined the group to learn skills in vegetable gardening and share her own skills with friends.

Another member, Thinley Pem, said it was the right time to invest in agriculture.

She said the group intends to first supply the vegetables in the gewog and then supply in the market.

Radhi gewog agriculture officer, Pema Wangchen, said that since Radhi is situated below an altitude of 1200ms above sea level, all types of vegetables could grow. “Once we are done with land management, the demarcated land would be handed over to the group for cultivation,” he said. The project is supported by Commercial  Agricultural and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Programme and the government.

He said that the group intended to focus on two off-season vegetables, tomatoes and chillies but they asked them to grow all vegetables. “If the project succeeds, the group could produce enough vegetables for Trashigang dzongkhag. If not, it should be sufficient for people of Radhi gewog.”

Out of 27 acres, 15 acres has been developed in which vegetables would be grown. The land was partially cultivated by farmers but half of it was left fallow for more than two decades because of human-wildlife conflict.