Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

A youth commercial farm in Marpheng, Trashigang, harvested their first pineapple and sold to Bhutan Agro Industries Limited on August 16.

The two metric tonnes of pineapple would be processed into juice in Agro office in Lingmethang, Mongar .

Members of the youth group said the income generated from the sale would be used to repay Nu 3.5 million loan they availed over the years and to run the farm.

A second harvest is expected later this year.

The farm has a total area of 16.5 acres of land and the plantation was initiated in 2019 with 49,000 seedlings. An additional 56,000 seedlings were planted last year making the total seedlings to about 105,000 in about 10 acres of land.

Crowns and suckers (seedlings) from the current crops will be planted in the remaining land targeting a complete filling up as they continue, while the surplus are also available for sale at Nu 25 per piece for those planning a pineapple plantation.

Locating on the bank of Drangmechu, the farm began contractual farming with Bhutan Agro Industries through Land Use Certificate supported through collaborative programme of People’s Project, agriculture ministry’s CARLEP – IFAD support to youth and commercial farming.

It also received support from Bank of Bhutan’s credit investment called youth priority sector lending.

It was implemented by dzongkhag agriculture sector and agriculture research and development centre (ARDC) in Wengkhar and Agro Industry.

Although the farm is in Kanglung gewog, agriculture officials from Kanglung and Udzorong gewogs have also been actively involved in the project.

Managed by three youth each from Kanglung, Udzorong and Wamrong the farm also carried out winter chilli plantation in through acres of land, which fetched them about Nu 100,000 last year.

The group has market assurance for both pineapple and chilli with Agro office in Lingmethang.

This is year, the youth group has also cultivated adzuki beans, which has a ready market with the support of stakeholders, in more than an acre while winter chilli seeds are also sown in the green houses.

The group’s leader, Kinga Wangchuk, said the yield for pineapple and vegetables have been affected by the stray oxen and wild animals intruding into the farm and damaging the fruits as the solar fencing proved less effective until they got a permanent chain link fence this month. “We will expand our farm.”

Edited by Tashi Dema