Neten Dorji

Trashiyangtse—The upgraded farm roads, now equipped with granular sub-base (GSB), have facilitated easier transportation for farmers to sell their products in local markets.

The farmers expressed that the newly completed farm road significantly improved their access to markets. With the road in place, marketing their produce has become notably more efficient, as they now can swiftly transport vegetables and other farm goods to Trashiyangtse town within a matter of hours.

Yueden Wangmo and her friends no longer endure the arduous trek of over four hours while bearing heavy loads to reach the marketplace in Trashiyangtse. Previously, they had to make the journey twice a week, burdened with hefty loads of fruits and vegetables.

Yuden Wangmo said: “I used to transport beans, cabbage, potatoes, and other vegetables to the market. Without any transportation service available, I had to trek for an hour, facing the risks along the route.”

The local residents are optimistic that the road improvement will also prove advantageous for pilgrims who follow the route to Dechenphodrang for pilgrimage after visiting Rigsum Goenpa.

Farmers like her had no choice but to navigate the steep mountain slopes to transport their products to the market. Upon returning, they would bring back daily essentials for their households. “We used to bring salt, oil, sugar, and other essentials from the market,” Yuden Wangmo said.

With the recent expansion of the road network reaching their village, locals are filled with excitement. Sonam Dema said that prosperity finally reached the community. “I could sell all the vegetables from my fields in one go recently,” she said. What has excited Yuden Wangmo is the higher rate for her products. Dealers offer her impressive rates for her potatoes, chilli, and cabbage. It has now become easier to sell dairy products, too.

“We had no means to store our products. And taking them to the market was a hassles. Our products used to get wasted,” she said.

Another villager, Pema, said that it brings prospects for better socioeconomic development in the village.

“We now feel that Trashiyangtse market is close by. Everything is going smoothly now,” Pema said. “Before improving the road, we have been cleaning and repairing the drainage system and road twice annually.”

Another local, Yeshi Lhamo, said that the village would now witness agricultural growth. When their products get to market, locals would be encouraged to invest more time and energy to agriculture activities, she said.

“Despite the village’s significant agricultural potential, it remained overshadowed. However, this situation is set to change,” Yeshi Lhamo said. “Once they begin to see substantial profits, they will likely be enticed to transition to modern farming practices.”

Bomdir and Wongmana villages are renowned for their Urkabangala and potato crops. However, due to transportation challenges, only a few farmers have ventured into large-scale chili cultivation.

According to villagers, the newly established road network is expected to rejuvenate potato farming and promote other vegetable cultivation as well.

“Our products, including Urka, have gained popularity even in Samdrupjongkhar. We take pride in our organic produce,” Rinzin said. “However, due to limited awareness and marketing avenues, only a handful engaged in such farming practices.”

He said that improved road access would encourage a shift towards cash crops.

Bumdeling gup, Mani Dorji, said that the farm road had enabled farmers to transport their agricultural and livestock products to market more efficiently.

“Reduced travel time to the Trashiyangtse market will enhance living standards,” he said.

He further said that road improvement had long been a cherished aspiration of the local community. “We are continuously upgrading the farm road in the gewog.”

A budget of 26.70 million has been allocated for the enhancement of over 10-kilometre farm roads. The farm road is set to benefit more than five villages in the Bamdir-Wogmana chiwog from the gewogs.