Following the successful commercial plantation of watermelon in Mongar and Trashiyangtse, more farmers in the east are taking up large-scale plantation of this healthy fruit.
A team from the ARDC sub-centers in Lingmethang and Khangma, have also introduced the program in a 4 acre area in Phuntshothang, Samdrupjongkhar dzongkhag, cultivated by 15 farmers.
A commercial watermelon plantation and a water-melon nursery already exists at Wangringmo in Trashiyangtse dzongkhag to cater to farmers.
The nursery will benefit households of two communities, Phuyang and Yallang, where 27 women have taken up melon cultivation. “The farmers will be cultivating Suman Water melon and Sugar baby on some 7.5 acres of land,” an agriculture research officer said.
Farmers say growing watermelons is easier than chilli and potato since it remains unaffected by major pests and diseases and is less damaged by wild animals.
Mass cultivation of watermelons was first introduced in Woongringmo village in Ramjar gewog, Trashiyangtse.
The commercial production was initiated by the research center in Wengkhar to substitute import of the fruit.
Some farmers are overwhelmed by the income generated through the sale of watermelons. Encouraged by such success, the farmers are planning to bring more areas under watermelon cultivation.
The intervention was driven by the need to minimize not only huge quantity of the import but also boost domestic production of fruits in the country.
So far more than 20 acres in the east are under commercial watermelon plantation program.