Phub Dem | Paro

It has been around two decades since the residents of Chubjakha left their land behind and explored opportunities in the suburbs of Paro and Thimphu.

Chubjakha is about an hour drive above Paro Ta-dzong.

Tshering Lham remembers living with her family in Chubjakha, growing vegetables and rearing animals. With increasing pressure on the limited resources such as water and land, she, along with her family, left to start a small business in Paro town.

After 20 years, Tshering Lham returned to Chubjakha to settle and cultivate her land.

Today, along with 24 others from the community, she is venturing into organic model farming on 6.5 acres of land and 17.5 acres of fallow land revival.

Agriculture officer of Paro, Tandin, said that Chubjakha was identified as a potential area for the model farm, as the site was suitable for agriculture farming with fertile soil.

He said that if the dzongkhag did not intervene now, there was the risk of migration that would lead to gungtong. “The residents were interested in returning to their village provided there is water supply and other supports.”

He said that the dzongkhag had plans to help the community with rainwater harvesting, electric fencing, free seeds, greenhouse subsidy and other technical supports.

On Friday began the readying of the field for cultivation for the upcoming season. Nine households are venturing into model organic farming. Others are in the process of reviving fallow land.

Human-wildlife conflict and water shortage, according to Tshering Lham, was a primary reason why many left the village.

Chubjakha has about 24 households and a population close to 200. However, only eight households stay regularly at the village.

According to Gewog Mangmi Sherab Lham, the community owns close to 60 acres of dryland, of which only 20 acres are under cultivation.

Dawa Dhendup, a resident of the village, said that the initiative had the potential to enhance the people’s income generation. “It is time for the community to tap the potential when the government is providing support.”

Those who left the village earlier were positive about returning back to their village with such initiatives from the dzongkhag.

Tandin said there would not be marketing issues, as the community is connected with a good road. “A high-end resort right below the village is looking for organic vegetables.”