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

Bhutan Lifts Ban On Rupee Note, Advises Against Holding Indian Currency In Cash

Bhutanese can now bring new series of INR 500 notes in and out of Bhutan.

Jun 20, 2018 15:17

Bhutan Joins Seeds Without Borders To Import Better Quality Seeds

The seed agreement covers a number of rice-based crops such as maize, wheat, vegetables, pulses and other crops.

Jun 18, 2018 17:40

Features

Tsirang’s Farmers Grow Broom Grass To Combat Landslide

Coinciding with the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, the Tsirang forest division planted at least 10,000 saplings...

Jun 21, 2018 18:26

International Archives Day Highlights The Importance Of Conserving Rare Bhutanese Artefacts

There are about 30 documents at the library’s exhibition that include gold written scripts, which date back to the 13th century.

Jun 17, 2018 17:51

Sports

Bhutanese Sonam Rigzin Played As Goalkeeper For His Team ‘King Cobra’ In The F4F World Championship In Russia

Sonam Rigzin walked into the Sapsena Arena in Russia bearing the Bhutanese national flag to open the finals.

Jun 16, 2018 08:45

Off To Russia: 2 Young Ambassadors Gearing Up For Football For Friendship Event In Moscow

Young footballer Rigzin Tenzin and young journalist Kinley Deki Yangzom, both 12, will be on their way to Moscow this Friday.

Jun 06, 2018 12:27

Business

Interview With Bhutan Alternatives: A Social Enterprise Which Recycles Printer Cartridges

The firm also employed 17 female and 13 male employees from underprivileged families and high school dropouts.

Jun 22, 2018 10:55

Modern Beekeeping In Dophuchen Yields Much Sought-After Bhutanese Honey, Royal Jelly And More

Other by-products such as wax, royal jelly, pollen and propolis are also in healthy demand in the market.

Jun 19, 2018 18:12

Travel

Six Senses Bhutan Preparing For October 2018 Opening

Three of the five Six Senses luxury lodges are now taking reservations for travel starting on Nov 3, 2018.

Jun 21, 2018 10:01

Heat Maps Illustrate the Sacred Routes of Buddhist Pilgrims

In Strava’s heat maps, the devotional movements of tired pilgrims become blazing symbols of sacred geography.

Jun 18, 2018 09:32

Lifestyle

‘Do You Know Your Child’ A Popular Show In Bhutan Helps Parents Bond Better With Their Kids

Since its inception in 2013, about 264 Bhutanese children have participated in the show.

Jun 20, 2018 18:43

Mountain Echoes Literary Festival Returns On Aug 23 - Here's Why You Should Attend

This year's festival celebrates 50 years of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India.

Jun 15, 2018 00:32

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!