Youth Farming Cooperative in Chhukha

The cooperative invested in farming cardamom and off-season vegetables cultivation to meet the demands in the urban areas. It was also intended that the cooperative would be able to help curb rural-urban migration and uplift the rural economy in remote villages.

Farming in Bhutan. (Source: www.drukasia.com)

 

The Agro Forestry and Commercial Farming Cooperative, an organic-based farming cooperative that was started by 10 members in Chhukha over 13 acres of government land in 2014, is struggling today in the absence of adequate funds to run the cooperative.

Aims of the organic-based farming cooperative in Chhukha

Purna Bdr. Chhetri from Dophulakha, a remote village from Chhukha, along with nine other members comprising of school dropouts and orphans in the village, had started the cooperative by investing in cardamom and off-season vegetables cultivation to meet the demands in the urban areas. It was also intended that the cooperative would be able to help curb rural-urban migration and uplift the rural economy in remote villages.

But farmers, though hopeful of receiving assistance, are still encountering challenges without adequate funds to run the cooperative.

Puna Bdr. Cheetri said the amount they have spent so far has been from their own pockets, which is now exhausted. Investment was made in planting cardamom in 10 acres of land and vegetables in the remaining three acres of land.

“We had expected the government to provide us with some subsidies, but so far we haven’t got anything,” he said.

The cooperative, meanwhile, expects to reap cardamom only next year and it has invested Nu 600,000 on farming works so far.

Problems faced by the initiative

Adding to their financial woes, the cooperative’s chairman said diseases have now started invading their cardamom plantations.

He added that though they had applied for approval for importing hybrid disease resistant saplings, but they are yet to get a response from them.

“I started this cooperative with the hope to curb rural-urban migration and uplift rural economy in remote villages. But I feel demotivated now,” he said.

Meanwhile, the cooperative had also availed Nu 100,000 of loan from the Rural Entrepreneurs Development Corporation Limited (REDCL) to operate. But after the two months’ gestation period, the group, unable to pay from their income, now pays from their own funds.

Purna Bdr. Chhetri, who chairs the cooperative, said that he had to work hard to acquire 13 acres of land on lease from the government and that it took six months to get it approved in 2014 and make the cooperative operational from 2016.

The cooperative has now decided to prioritize on vegetable cultivation after realising that cardamom cultivation is likely to fail. The cooperative sold 15 Boleros of vegetables last summer. Still the group incurred losses, compelling the chairman to spend out of his own pocket.

“It took us time to study the market and we weren’t aware. But we have now established links and are hopeful that we will succeed in the future,” he said.

Equipment which the cooperative hope to procure from the government

Meanwhile, the cooperative is also hopeful that the government will provide them necessary support to run the indented farming cooperative, which is still in need of farming machines like power tillers, watering pipes and cans, and green house nets, among others.

The chairman said the members are ready to do physical works in the field and that the cooperative plans to employ other villagers to do heavier works. The cooperative employs around 15 rural villagers while executing heavy works by paying Nu 300, three meals and refreshments in a season.

“But we are desperately hoping that the government will come up with subsidies to help us move ahead,” he said.

“If everything goes well, the group assures that they can curb at least 10% of the total vegetables import from India annually.”

Meanwhile, Home Minister Dawa Gyeltshen, during his recent visit to Chhukha, said the government would look into the matter.

He said the group can ask for support from the Dzongkhag administration. “It is a good initiative from youths,” he said.

More farmers are, meanwhile, opting for membership in the cooperative.

 

By Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing 

This article first appeared in Business Bhutan and has been edited for the New Bhutan Times.

 

 


Related Posts

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 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

Growing Black Sesame in Nichula

“The weather and soil are suitable for this crop,” the manager said, adding that the Farm Machinery Centre (FMC) in...

Feb 02, 2018 07:17

Latest

News

Trashigang Dzong Renovation to be Completed By June 2018

The Department of Culture’s Division for the Conservation of Heritage Sites has initiated the Trashigang Dzong conservation project worth Nu...

Apr 24, 2018 09:52

Japanese Language and Judo Centres to be Established in Bhutan

At the meeting with Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay in Tokyo, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe said that Japan would support the...

Apr 19, 2018 00:21

Features

Combating Fallow Land in Bhutan

This phenomenon - the fallowing of land has been increasing over the years, causing concern to both villagers and authorities alike.

Apr 25, 2018 00:10

TSEM – Innovative Toys Made in Bhutan

“Incorporating our culture, our local folk stories and art in our toys is also a goal. Our mission is to keep learning and improving the...

Apr 23, 2018 00:55

Sports

Motivating Bhutanese Women’s Participation and Representation in Sports

A committee member with the WSCB, Tshering Zangmo said that there is a need to encourage more women to take up leadership roles in sports.

Apr 22, 2018 21:21

Bhutan’s Pelden Dorji Wins the First Asian Enduro Series in Nepal

Bhutan’s Pelden Dorji, 35 won gold in the masters A-category title at the recent Asian Enduro series held in the Nagarkot hills of...

Apr 18, 2018 06:13

Business

First Bhutanese Instant Noodles Hit Market

KP Noodles, manufactured by KP Foods in Chengmari, Samtse, has come up with noodles of three flavours – Hot Garlic Chicken, Spicy Chicken...

Apr 20, 2018 04:34

Demand for Bhutanese Honey Encourages Farmers To Take Up Bee-keeping

Bhutan’s organic honey is highly sought after for its fine quality.

Apr 16, 2018 00:31

Travel

New Film Shows How These Elite Runners Finished World's Hardest Trek In Just 2 Weeks

It usually takes a month to complete the Snowman Trek, but this group of athletes have done it in just two weeks.

Apr 23, 2018 10:41

Guidelines To Manage Bhutanese Heritage Sites

The guideline will identify the roles and responsibilities of cultural heritage professionals during response and recovery events as well as...

Apr 10, 2018 16:53

Lifestyle

Dhaari Nhaaba – A Movie Not to Be Missed

The veteran director, Kesang P. Jigme has used all the magic tricks in his bag again to weave a compelling narrative.

Apr 21, 2018 21:14

Mama's Dream - Bhutanese Clothing Line For Children

Mama’s Dream also manufactures its entire clothing items in Bhutan, hence it helps to create various employment opportunities.

Apr 16, 2018 21:50

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!