Neten Dorji | Trashigang
With no experience or knowledge about agriculture, three youth from Radhi, Trashigang embarked on commercial agriculture farming few months ago solely riding on the government’s free support and goodwill of their relatives.
They have leased and cultivated in four acres of paddy fields belonging to a villager that has remained fallow. The lease is for 10 years. With support from CARLEP project, the farmland is ready to produce vegetables next few months under protected cultivation.
They will reap winter vegetables like beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and tomatoes, among others within few months.
Before venturing into vegetable farming, they worked at construction sites.
“Until the gewog administration informed about the support for commercial farming, we didn’t have an idea,” said Karma Tenzin, who dropped out from high school.
He said that there were second thoughts. “If we don’t take it up today when we can, then such an opportunity may not come again,” he said.
“I had to do something to earn a living,” said another member of the group, Phurpa Tshering. He said that he was encouraged by his relatives who offered their ready support. He discontinued his education after completing class X in 2015.
He said that dzongkhag agriculture officials have been helpful in establishing the commercial group.
“It is quite challenging to work in the fields, but it’s a much better life in the village than that office-goer,” said another youth, Tenzin Norbu, adding he need not pay any rent and other bills when the month ends.
The group plans to grow vegetables on a larger scale in future.
A villager said that soil is fertile and all types of vegetables will grow. “We want to take this opportunity to grow vegetables on a large scale to become self-reliant.”
He said it was the right time to invest in agriculture and youth to take up agriculture.
Radhi gewog agriculture extension officer, Pema Wangchen said the group intended to focus on both off-season and seasonal vegetables such as Rajma beans, chilli, tomatoes, onion, and other vegetables.
“Going by their work progress, I find them capable of taking up commercial vegetable farming,” said Pema Wangchen.
He said that the youth group was supported through CARLEP project with technical assistance from the dzongkhag agriculture sector and Agriculture Research and Development Centre.
The group invested about Nu 120,000 to start commercial farming and expects to earn between Nu 70,000 to Nu 80,000 in a month.