Farmers in southern Dzongkhags bulk growing Onion, Tomato and Chilli for winter vegetable production

As the government focuses on Seven Southern Dzongkhags for winter vegetable production in the country, the dzongkhags are expecting good production.

Dzongkhag Agriculture Officer of Pemagatshel Tashi Phuntsho said that the dzongkhag received a total Nu 9 mn for Economic Contingency Plan and 50 percent of this budget has to go in this project.

 “Approximately we are spending around 4.5 mn for winter vegetable production. Under Nanglam we are mainly focusing in this three places and in other eight gewogs, we have selected the area by going through the lower elevation ranging below 1,200 meters,” he said.

He said that they have cultivated chilli, onion and tomato which are the mandatory crop and also peas, beans, cauliflower and broccoli.

“Around 62 acres of land are being cultivated with chilli and we are expecting around 33 Metric Tonnes (MT), onion is in 27 acres and production expected is 28.5 MT and tomatoes is on 10 acres and 4.5 MT is expected,” he said, adding that they have six groups of youth working in this project.

He added that they are worried about how sufficient water will be for irrigation and also the pest and diseases since it cannot be predicted.

Dagana assistant agriculture officer said that in all the fourteen gewogs it is a must to produce the signature crops but the size of the area differs.

He said, “We have mixed groups and individuals who are working for this.  There are not much challenges, however, the water for irrigation is the issue since it is winter.”

He added that the dzongkhag has targeted Tomato in 87. 3 acres and production expected is 261.9 MT, onion in 104 acres and production expected is 300.2 MT and chilli in 332 acres and 556 MT is expected.

Dzongkhag Agriculture Officer of Chukha Saha Bir Rai said that they have identified 19 cluster areas in 6 Gewogs: Bongo, Dungna, Phuentsholing, Sampheling Darla and Loggchina out of 11 Gewogs.

He said that in order to address the production gap, they have supported interested ex-civil servants/ youths covering more than 20 acres of winter vegetables with priority in producing 3 mandatory crops: Onion, Tomato and Chili.

“Nursery raising of Tomato and Onion is the main challenge, however, it was supported by the Department of Agriculture by supplying back up seedlings to Gewogs. And also water for Irrigation is an issue, we are exploring budgetary support of low cost irrigation intervention in the cluster sites,” he said.

He added that the dzongkhag is expecting 41 MT of tomato and 41 MT of onion and 75 MT of chilli. 

He added, “Farmers don’t show interest if there is no market, so we are differentiating between marketing and production. We have created farmers marketing group in each gewog who will search for the market and they will have to collect the produces from the farmers and take it to market.  So the producers will be producing and marketing people will be doing marketing only.”

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor in an earlier interview had said that the farmers were expressing their worries about how they will be able to sell their produces when the time comes and it is a good indication.

“We responded them to keep on producing and the government will take care of the marketing. People are working and its quiet encouraging, so whatever we can produce we must produce and whatever we are not able to produce and wherever there is a shortfall we will continue with the import. We will assess the shortfall and BAFRA will accordingly issue permits for import,” Lyonpo said.

The government is supporting southern dzongkhags with the land development, irrigation facilities, green house and seeds for the production of winter vegetables.

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