.. now the father is trying to send other children abroad 

Lhakpa Quendren | Tsirang

Sixty-five-year-old Jagat Bdr Subba of Tsholingkhar in Tsirang has revived 2.8 acres of fallow land after almost a decade of neglect and apathy.

The revival attempt was possible with the money that his daughter and son-in-law sent him from Australia.

Jagat Bdr Subba said that his daughter and her husband, who went abroad three months ago, have been sending home Nu 50,000 monthly. “They also save for themselves.”

He said that the financial support has boosted their aspirations and interest in the agriculture sector. “This is definitely an encouragement. Without their support, we cannot afford to convert the fallow land.”

Villages are mostly made up of old people and women who have stayed back with their livestock. In the face of acute labour shortage, their fields remain fallow.

Today, Jagat lives with his wife and the youngest of their six children. He said he has to hire labour for cultivation during the farming season.

There is a little glimmer of hope with farming activities resuming in deserted patches and fallow land.

Jagat Bdr Subba is determined to transform his fallow land into lush green paddy fields and also cultivate cardamom on barren dry lands to upscale agriculture production.

It is not easy for landowners to overcome and initiate land reclamation efforts on their own. The dzongkhag administration provides them with machinery and resources to make terraces while the cost of fuel is borne by landowners.

“Without the government’s help, the cost of reviving fallow land is too expensive for farmers,” he said. “The fuel expense for the excavator in the past 15 days was about Nu 85,000.”

Jagat also has 200 orange trees on 1.55 acres, which helps to earn Nu 300,000 annually.

He worked as a teacher for 14 years before resigning in 1989 to take up farming.

Before leaving for Australia, his daughter and son-in-law worked with a private company. “It was difficult for them to sustain themselves. Their monthly income was hardly enough to meet their expenses,” he said.

With this initial success, the father of six wants to explore opportunities to send his other children abroad.