Neten Dorji | Trashigang
Despite its impact on livelihood and the economy, the Covid-19 pandemic came as a blessing to some farmers in Trashigang.
Farmer Sangay Dorji, 60, of Gongthung village is not only growing vegetables but also became a vendor after the outbreak of the pandemic.
Negotiating the price of vegetables, he goes door-to-door in Trashigang town to sell the farm produces.
He claimed he made good income by selling more than 1,000kgs of various vegetables. He expects to sell more in the next harvest.
Sangay Dorji said most villagers, who grew vegetables only for self-consumption in the past, have now started growing in large scale.
“I earned Nu 150,000 this time and was able to save in our families bank account,” he said.
He is not alone.
With agriculture officials encouraging more farmers to grow vegetables, many took interest.
Daza, 46, from Bartsham said sale of vegetables doubled after the pandemic.
“It encourages us to produce as much as possible without worrying about the market. Now we are worried how we can sell vegetables, if the government lifts the border.”
He said harvest was good and they also fetched a good price. “I made a profit of Nu 250,000 selling vegetables.”
Another farmer, Phangchung, said except for onion and tomatoes, all vegetables in the markets are organic. “People buy local vegetables.”
Another farmer, Jamyang from Bartsham said good market and price encourage them to work harder. “If the government continues the ban on the import of vegetables, rural farmers will be benefited more.”
He earned Nu 380,000 during the first and second nationwide lockdown. “If the government allows import, there will be no market for our products, as people would buy cheap imported vegetables.”
Jamyang, however, said farmers need training on farm mechanization and technical support to cultivate the vegetables in large scale.
Meanwhile, to assist farmers, Trashigang dzongkhag agriculture sector identified nine aggregators in different locations in Trashigang.