Neten Dorji  | Trashigang

Despite a nationwide lockdown, Tshering Yangzom and friends in Benshingma village in Trashigang are busy harvesting, packaging and transporting watermelon.

They supply fresh fruits to Trashigang and Kanglung.

Tshering Yangzom has been growing watermelon for the past five years. Last year, made Nu 1,50,000 from the sale of melons.  This year, she has grown more melons.

“I am happy looking at the yield increasing every year,” she said. “It usually goes for Nu 65 per kg in Kanglung but I am selling at Nu 45 per kg because of lockdown.”

This week, Tshering Yangzom made around Nu 60,000.

Another villager, Chimi Dema, grew melons on her 40-decimal land. She earned about Nu 10,000 this year. “I plan to double the plantation next year. As imports are restricted, it is an opportunity for us to earn income.”

Kezang Wangmo, a farmer, said that growing watermelon was easy. She has grown melon is about a 2-acre land. “It will be ready for market after in about two weeks.”

The gewog agriculture extension officer, Nerayan Subha, said that the gewog and dzongkhag agriculture sector supported farmers with tools, electric fencing and water pipes. “We also support them with technical management and marketing.”

He said fallowing of land had reduced after farmers started growing watermelon. Gewog agriculture office, he said, had plans to encourage mass plantations of watermelon in Udzorong.