Cultivation Of Avocado Looks Set To Take Off In Tsirang, Bhutan
A few farmers have already started selling avocados in the Sunday vegetable market for about Nu 250-350 a kilogram.
By Nirmala Pokhrel | Kuensel
When Purna Bahadur Bista of Semjong in Tsirang planted four avocado saplings five years ago, he did not expect a bumper harvest. Today he harvests at least 50 kilograms of avocado from just one tree.
Three of the four trees bore fruit. One may even flower. Purna Bahadur said that avocado is a fairly new cash crop in Bhutan and it is still on trial in the villages.
In Semjong, Purna is the only farmer who has been selling the fruit since 2016. “Most of my neighbours have planted saplings which are yet to bear fruit,” he said.
Cultivation of avocado look set to be a lucrative business
He said that if one can cultivate the fruit, the market is not an issue. Vendors came right to the garden to collect, he said. Last year, he sold 50 kg of avocados for Nu 250 a kilogram.
Location of Tsirang
This year he expects to harvest about 170 kg of avocados. One of his trees bears almost 100 kg of fruits.
“I’ve space to plant another 40 saplings and will plant them soon,” he said.
While Purna will begin harvesting next month, a few farmers have already started selling avocados in the Sunday vegetable market for about Nu 250-350 a kilogram.
Besides avocados, the farmer also grows hybrid forms of passion-fruits and grapes. While grapes have not progressed well, passion-fruits grow well in Bhutan’s climate. One passion fruit, the size of a small pumpkin is sold at Nu 50.
Another farmer who grows avocado in Tsirang is Dhan Bahadur Biswa, 76 from Gosarling gewog. He has two fruit bearing trees. Although he planted more than five saplings, only two matured early enough to bear fruit.
Dhan Bahadur said that in his first harvest last year, he harvested only 25 kg of avocados. He sold it to vendors who came to his farm for Nu 250 a kilogram. However, this year he expected to harvest at least 100 kg from a tree but it was unfortunately hit by a drought.
“I may not harvest even 25 kg this year. No adequate amount of rainfall this year has caused dryness and killed the flowers in early stage,” he said. However, he acknowledged that otherwise avocado farming is a lucrative business.
Potential for avocado farming in Bhutan
He recently bought two-hybrid saplings from Bhur farm in Gelephu for Nu 450 each. In another five years he expects to harvest at least 100 kg of avocados from each of his trees.
“It is easy farming, it doesn’t require hard work unlike cardamom and other crops,” he said.
This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.