Cultivating Hazelnuts in Bhutan

All across Bhutan, thousands of farmers are partnering with Mountain Hazelnuts to cultivate millions of hazelnut trees and more farmers look set to jump in the bandwagon.

Cultivating Hazelnuts in Bhutan. (Source: http://www.mountainhazelnuts.com)

 

Sixty-eight year old Ap Kencho sits alone on a chair by his field in Tseza gewog, Dagana. He is originally from Trashigang. Prior to being a farmer, he was a monk till the age of 25.

He has a way of tilling his field which strangers would find strange. He digs into the soil and feels the spade. If the soil clings to the spade, he deduces that the soil is moist, otherwise if the spade comes clean, he waters his field. This unique way of farming his land has been borne out of necessity.

A keen observer will notice that Ap Kencho’s eyes have lost the rays that sight affords. He has been visually impaired since the age of 35. Suffering from red eyes, he went to the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital where he was recommended to undergo eye surgery.

However, tragedy struck the day he opened his eyes after the surgery, he could not see anymore. For three years, he went through a lot of sorrow and suffering. Then, he decided that life must go on. He had to take care of his 87-year old mother and as he is single, he had to look after himself as well.

About the Mountain Hazelnuts (MH) company

In due time, Mountain Hazelnuts (MH), a Foreign Direct Investment company that promotes cultivation of hazelnuts among Bhutanese farmers came to his rescue.

All across Bhutan, thousands of farmers are partnering with Mountain Hazelnuts to cultivate millions of hazelnut trees and more farmers look set to jump in the bandwagon.

For farmers who show strong commitment and who have access to suitable farmland, Mountain Hazelnuts generously provided the hazelnut tree saplings for free.

In addition, technical and field support are provided consistently to farmers and there is also a guarantee to purchase the hazelnuts produced afterwards.

Mountain Hazelnut assists landowners who want to transform their fallow land into a rich orchard full of hazelnuts. Farmers can look to the company for access to fertile planting sites as the relationship is a co-operative one.

Why is Bhutan’s climate suitable for growing hazelnuts

Hazelnuts generally thrive well between an elevation of 1600 to 3000 metres. With many mid-level elevation areas found in this Himalayan Kingdom, the conditions are ripe to cultivate hazelnuts, as long as there is sufficient rainfall. It takes about half an acre of land to form the minimum land size for orchards.

Merits of cultivating hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are low maintenance crops that are not labour-intensive and they also require cheaper labour. The saplings were also provided free to farmers. Growing hazelnuts offers a stable and reliable means of generating income.

Determined, Ap Kencho took to cultivating hazelnuts for a living. Currently, he has 240 hazelnut plants. Ap Kencho also gets a monthly kidu of Nu 1,200.

“Growing hazelnuts is ideal for me because I do not have much money, knowledge or physical ability,” he said.

MH has a highly trained field extension team that works closely with farmers to guide and help their farmer partners to understand the science behind growing hazelnuts. 

  

By Chencho Dema from Thimphu (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared in Business Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

Farmers in Samtse Ready To Reap Quinoa

Farmers in Samtse are gearing up to harvest quinoa, a new crop which they started cultivating on a small scale as a...

Jan 18, 2018 07:18

Eastern Farmers Cashing In On Watermelon Cultivation

Farmers said that growing watermelons is easier than cultivating other cash crops like chillies and potatoes, since...

Jan 28, 2018 16:34

Denmark to Support Bhutan’s Organic Agriculture

Bhutan officially launched the policy for organic farming in 2007 and proclaimed the intention to become a fully organic...

Oct 24, 2017 14:50

Organic Vegetables on Platter for Students

Come 2018 and students of Daga Central School in Dagana will get to consume various organic vegetables that are grown in...

Oct 20, 2017 11:23

Gasa lives the organic dream

Organic dream to be lived in!

Jul 29, 2017 16:54

Farmers in Bumthang Revive Buckwheat Cultivation

Buckwheat cultivation in Bumthang has been on a declining trend over the last few decades. However, the district is now...

Oct 14, 2017 06:10

Latest

News

Bhutan – A Hidden Gem For Foreign Direct Investments

Of the total FDIs, 65 percent of the investors are from Asia, 25 percent from Europe, nine percent from America and the rest are from the...

May 24, 2018 16:58

15th National Job Fair Offered Over 3,600 Vacancies Overseas And In Bhutan

Companies from Kuwait, India and officials from the language institutes in Japan also offered job opportunities and trainings at the fair.

May 20, 2018 08:52

Sports

Indian Athletes In Bhutan For High-Altitude Training Ahead Of Asian Games

Athletes from many sports use high-altitude training for a few weeks before a major match or event.

May 21, 2018 11:15

Bhutanese Athletes Preparing For The Tokyo Olympics

Japanese coaches and experts will visit Bhutan to train the athletes in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

May 05, 2018 15:46

Business

Smoked Gouda Cheese And Other Premium Dairy Products In The Pipeline For Koufuku

Koufuku International aims to produce premium dairy products which is of export quality.

May 25, 2018 08:53

Strengthening Agri-Business In Bhutan

"It is imperative that agriculture, being a jewel selected by the government, must be treated like a jewel," said Ugen Tsechup Dorji.

May 22, 2018 20:23

Travel

Yathra Weaving – A Specialty In Bumthang Which Brings Income And Villagers Together

For tourists, Yathra products are popular and unique souvenirs from Bumthang.

May 21, 2018 21:07

Therapeutic Power of the Gasa Hot Springs

Known for its healing powers, the Gasa tshachu attracts about 3,000 visitors every year, making it the most visited places of the country’s...

Apr 29, 2018 03:45

Lifestyle

Members Of Rainbow Bhutan – A LGBT Community Observes IDAHOT

On May 17, the members of Rainbow Bhutan gathered to share touching stories.

May 26, 2018 09:11

Dish8Door Delivers Food And Happiness Right To Your Doorstep

Dish8Door is a delivery service with the motto ‘You Pick, We Deliver’.

May 17, 2018 17:17

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!