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:


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



Drukair Orders New Aircraft That's Equipped With Latest Visual Technology

The new ClearVision technology on the aircraft allows pilots to get a clear picture of the runway while landing the aircraft.

Jul 19, 2018 12:47

After 9 Years, The Amochhu Bridge In Bhutan Finally Opened On 14 July 2018

The driving distance between Phuentsholing and Samtse is now reduced to 57km from 81.2km

Jul 18, 2018 14:57


Bhutan's climb to medicines safety

Pharmacovigilance is the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse drug...

Jul 17, 2018 14:31

11th Golden Youth Award Camp Aims To Inspire Bhutanese Youth To Excel Holistically

The camp’s theme ‘Celebrating Unity for Excellence’, is a pledge by the youth to be advocators and agents of peace, harmony and...

Jul 12, 2018 16:14


Future Of Bhutan’s Women Football Depends On The Development Of Local Coaches

The football coach of the national women’s team, Sung Jea Lee said that there is a need to train local coaches.

Jul 08, 2018 18:16

Bhutan’s Two Young Representatives Shared Their Unforgettable Experiences At The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Bhutan was represented by two students, Rigzin Tenzin, 12, from Gelephu and Kinley Deki Yangzom, 12, from Lobesa Lower Secondary School,...

Jun 30, 2018 14:06


Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Has Generated Profits And Served More Than 500 Tourists And Locals Since 2016

The RBHS was launched with the primary objective of providing services during medical emergencies and natural disasters and also for tourism...

Jul 14, 2018 14:23

White Button Mushroom Trial Cultivation A Success In Chukha, Bhutan

In April this year, four areas were identified in Darla (Tala), Chasilakha and Tsimalakha for the trial programme.

Jul 09, 2018 18:27


Heading To Haa, Bhutan For The Summer Festival? Here Are Some Culinary Delights You Must Not Miss!

Savour the most delectable cuisine from the province of Haa in Bhutan.

Jul 13, 2018 14:54

Rare Masked Dances - One Of The Unique Features Of The Kholong Tshechu (Brawl Festival) In Bhutan

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the country,” said...

Jul 03, 2018 14:44


Suja – Bhutanese Butter Tea Infused With Happiness To Kickstart Your Day

Traditionally, Suja is made from tea leaves, water, salt and yak butter.

Jul 17, 2018 17:19

Bhutan Film Festival Held In Sikkim To Commemorate 50 Years Of Bhutan-India Friendship Ended With Colourful Traditional Dances

Bhutanese celebrities and Sikkim’s local artists performed various traditional and cultural performances at the festival.

Jul 15, 2018 14:32

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!