The village of Autsho in the eastern district of Lhuentse is the latest rural community that is using fallow lands to take up commercial vegetable production.
Autsho’s vegetable programme has engaged about 17 households in an eight-acre area to practice commercial vegetable production. They have been provided with vegetable seeds, a greenhouse, a water storage tank of 2000 litres, 17 bundles of watering pipes and 17 sprinklers through Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Programme (CARLEP) financing.
Autsho farmers have cultivated various crops including beans, chili, watermelon, tomatoes and other vegetables in the eight-acre area.
“CARLEP has also supported land development prior to the cultivation works,” said Gender and Knowledge Management Officer with CARLEP, Karma Wangmo. She added that Autsho has always been a potential site for the agricultural activities owing to its agriculturally feasible topography and the fertile land.
Karma Wangmo said the ‘Commercialization of the vegetables’ initiative is expected not only to help farmers earn income but also contribute to self-sufficiency of domestic vegetables and reduce import.
According to the Program Director with CARLEP, Tashi Wangdi, commercial vegetable production aims to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ incomes and reduce the rural poverty and this will be achieved through climate resilient commercialization of crops and livestock in nationally organized value chains and marketing systems.
He added that currently with support from CARLEP, various commercials sites have been identified in six eastern dzongkhags and the identified commercial sites are being provided with both inputs and technical support through the Dzongkhags and the Geog Extension Officials in collaboration with the ARDC, Wengkhar.
So Far CARLEP has implemented several activities like construction of the irrigation canals and training farmers on various themes like seed-raising.