Neten Dorji

Trashigang— A group of young farmers in Khaling, Trashigang, called Khaling Nazhoen, has realised they need support for – water, seeds, and machines – to be successful in agri-business.  

The group has piloted farming in a 10-acre fallow land growing buckwheat, barley, and mustard oil in the past six  months. While the group was focused on growing vegetables and planned to grow high-value crops in the greenhouses as they expected to get support from the dzongkhag. The group planned to build greenhouses to grow crops during the winter months.

However, lack of adequate supply of water, unfavourable climate, and lack of modern farming technology and tools, was necessary for the group to be successful in their endeavour, said Tshering Norbu, a member of the group. 

Fortunately for the group, the Khaling gewog office hired power tillers for land development, and installed electric fencing for the farmland while the dzongkhag agriculture officers provided technical assistance and visited the farmland to offer support.

The gewog wants to support the youth so that they can lift themselves and the community, said Tshering Norbu. But he was worried as some of the members left the group looking for opportunities elsewhere.

The group invested about Nu 700,000 to develop land, install 1.5 electric fences, buy seed, and for hiring machinery. 

Tshering Dorji, 26, a member of the group, said that working together with the group was an opportunity to earn well. “We are facing a lot of challenges so I know there will be a result for our efforts,” he said.  

Cheki Gyeltshen believes farming is the most suitable job for him, considering that he grew up in a village. He was not successful working at construction sites to earn a living. 

He decided to take up farming as most of the land remained fallow and villages empty. “I was inspired to set an example of how youths can make a change in the community,”he said. “Other opportunities would be nice, but farming is what I have in my blood, and I am happy to take it up.”

The group needs government support, especially irrigation water, seedling, and power tiller machines. 

Residents said that the group is motivated to work in agriculture when the earning is good. “Sometimes the production and marketing don’t come as expected, hampering the returns. Government should support this situation,” said a resident.  

He said it was important to make the agriculture sector attractive for the youth.