Two visually impaired take up commercial farming after pandemic hits their business

The pandemic has hit all the sectors in the country and people have lost their only source of income to COVID-19. People in different sectors have started doing commercial farming and some are already into construction work.

Meanwhile, Tshering Dorji, 32, from Samdrupjongkhar and Dorji Nidup, 40, from Zhemgang have taken up commercial farming in Babena, Thimphu. They are both visually impaired and were working with Dhungsel Home Spa and Steam Bath, a venture by the visually impaired in Thimphu. However, due to the pandemic the business has been hit and it has affected their only source of income.

Tshering said that the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu has come as a huge relief and it has given them a space for breathing. He said in the meantime they have taken up commercial farming to sustain their livelihood during this pandemic.

“We lost our income to COVID-19, and we did not have any other jobs where we could fit in as we both are visually impaired. So, the only thing we could think was to take up farming as a source of income. And with the support from Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and Bhutan Foundation, we could start the project in Babena with 47 decimal land from the Dratshang Lhentshog,” he said.

He said that the project was started in the beginning of May and now they have completed the plantation of different varieties of vegetables in the farmland.

“We are working very hard and we have planted different varieties of vegetables like tomatoes, onions, beans, peas and other vegetables in that particular given land. We are hoping that by next month the produce will hit the market,” he said.

He said that though they are visually impaired they can do farming but it does take little time while weeding.

“We do face challenges, such as when we do weeding, sometimes we take out vegetables instead of the weeds. So we do it very carefully and it consumes a lot of our time but we manage to complete the work,” he said.

He said that agriculture is one of the important sectors that can contribute to the nation’s economy, and they are planning to take up commercial farming in the near future and to keep this as a farming education center for disabled people.

“We have gained experience, and now, we have planned to take up farming as a part of our career in future. It is hard for the disabled people to differentiate among vegetables ,so we are planning to keep this land as a farming center for disabled people like us so that they can visit the area and study about the vegetables and how the farming is done,” he said.

He said that they want to set an example to others and encourage people to take up agriculture.

“Once we start farming, it is very interesting and it depends upon how hard we work in the field. We want to set examples for others as well and convince them that when we disabled can take up  farming then why can’t normal people do so?” he said.

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