Four years ago a pioneer farmer started plantation and it’s caught on like wildfire since

Agriculture: Four years ago, 59-year-old Tandin Tshewang was the lone farmer in Yurung, Pemagatshel, who decided to grow cardamom.

Tandin Tshewang did well.  He made Nu 35,000 after selling about 50kg dried cardamom for Nu 800 a kg in Samdrupjongkhar.  The idea of growing cardamom occurred to Tandin Tshewang, when he met one of his friends, who had returned from Tsirang.

“I asked him how he was able to survive without a job. He told me he’s now a proud farmer and has started growing cardamom that fetches him more than Nu 300,000 a year,” Tandin Tshewang said. “I instantly decided I should do the same. I went to Samtse and bought 5,200 cardamom seedlings. I planted 3,000 and sold the rest at Nu 10 per seedling.”

Tandin Tshewang said the road connectivity has now helped him take his harvest to markets.  He sells a kilogram of cardamom for no less than Nu 700.  With his cousin, Tandin Tshewang has planted 20,000 cardamom seedlings.

Many farmers are now gradually following his steps and are practising Tandin Tshewang’s cardamom cultivation idea, and have already begun planting cardamom by buying seedlings from Tandin Tshewang.

In Yurung today, maize fields are covered with cardamom, and people are hoping for a good harvest and income.  Land that was left fallow is now teeming with young cardamom plants.

Tandin Wangdi, 38, started growing cardamom about two years back with about 1,000 seedlings.  He bought them from Tandin Tshewang.

“I think I made the right decision. I made about Nu 45,000 last year from cardamom,” Tandin Wangdi said.

A villager said many farmers are planning to buy Bolero pickups so that they can take cardamom to the auction yard in Samdrupjongkhar, without having to depend on others for transportation.

Chozang Choden, 53, said he took 1,000 cardamom seedlings from Tandin Tshewang that gave her Nu 150,000 last year.  She plans to increase extend her cardamom field.

“I could even sell seedlings and made Nu 20,000 from it. I want to save money and go on a pilgrimage with my husband,” Chozang Choden said.

Tandin Tshewang said he was glad to see many are taking interest in growing cardamom.  He shares his knowledge and strategies with those, who are interested to grow the crop.

Farmers in Yurung are taking keen interest in growing cardamom, because it is a crop that wild animals do not destroy.

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Pemagatshel