The reopening of a two kilometer irrigation Channel will aid Gongdue gewog farmers in Mongar to resume paddy cultivation after 10 years.
More than 26 households of Yangbari village will be able to harvest rice coming year onwards.
The channel supported by the Agriculture Marketing and Enterprise Promotion Program (AMEPP) with Nu 4.5mn through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has enabled transformation of more than 60 acres of fallow land for paddy cultivation.
The irrigation channel which was washed away by the soaring Bakla Ri years ago cast off farmers to proceed with the paddy cultivation.
Consequent to the handing over of the channel, the Dzongkhag and gewog agriculture extension in collaboration with the Renewable Research and Development Centre at Wengkhar launched a Research and Extension Outreach Program.
The program is composed of technology introduction and dissemination of crop management practices following a concept of “hands on practice or learning by doing”.
A Total of five improved varieties of rice for low altitudes will make available with the research centre namely BR 153, Radha, Karjat, Wengkhar Rey Kap 11 and IRL05006 and two local varieties Khamtee and Tsirang Zam. The program began in June this year with nursery works followed by transplanting during the last week of July.
A week long paddy transplanting work was organized with 26 households which covered about 3 acres. Researchers and extension staff organized demonstration on transplanting methods and provided trainings on fertilizer application and timing, weed control methods and timing and irrigation water management.
The gewog extension centre at Daksa and the farmers will monitor the crop, organize field days and researchers from Wengkhar will join them during harvest in which a participatory variety selection of the improved varieties will be carried out for farmers to choose from the varieties introduced and continue in the following season.
Two power tillers funded through the Constituency Development Grant (CDG) are currently used by the community while one additional power tiller on a cost sharing mechanism (70:30) between the ongoing Market Access and Growth Intensification Project (MAGIP) also funded through IFAD and the community is expected to arrive soon which will further aid farm mechanization.
The outreach program is expected to harvest about 4.8 Mt of paddy. The rice program will be topped up with another component designed for winter vegetable program after paddy for both home consumption and sale to provide opportunities to contribute toward food sufficiency, nutritional improvement and income generation.
The program is expected to continue for a few years and aims aiming to revert many fallow lands into cultivation. With the current issue of vegetable shortages in the country and also with the upcoming plans of Kuri-Gongri Hydropower project, Yangbari could begin to realize their agriculture potentials.
MAGIP has also provided financial support of Nu 2.275mn to establish irrigation water source protection in the current financial year.