English | Dzongkha Sunday, April 11, 2021

Farmers of Khatoed cultivating garlic on a larger scale, Gasa


Apr 7, 2021

Easier to grow and a good price- these two factors are what keep the farmers of Khatoed Gewog in Gasa motivated to cultivate garlic in mass. The farmers there are growing the crop on a larger scale every year. It has become one of their main cash crops today. They cultivated the crop on around 20 acres of land this year an increase from 15 acres last year.

There is not a single household that does not cultivate garlic in Khatoed Gewog today. They begin cultivating the crop in the month of October. It becomes ready for harvest in June. The farmers there grow organic garlic using farmyard manure.

“We are increasing the production every year as it fetches a better price than potatoes. I have been cultivating garlic for almost five years. We earn Nu 150 a kg from last year. And the price is increasing every year. I earned Nu 60,000 last year almost double of what I used to earn in the past,” said Sonam Zangmo.

“In the past, we used to cultivate only one or two beds of garlic for self-consumption as we were not able to sell. But now, we are cultivating more. It is easier to grow and also fetches a good price. That is how we started mass cultivation. Almost all the people in Khatoed Gewog cultivate garlic today,” added Zangmo.

Farmers of Khatoed began growing the crop in mass from 2016 after the dzongkhag administration and the Agriculture Research and Development Centre in Bajo agreed to buy the produce at Nu 100 per kg.

“Marketing is one of the main aspects to improve the agricultural production. Our farmers get discouraged when their crops do not fetch a good price after working so hard. That is when they start giving up on agricultural works. So, it is significantly important for the agriculture officials to help them find a market. I think they will continue to cultivate more garlic every year,” said Tshewang Gyeltshen from Khatoed Gewog Agriculture Extension office.

According to the farmers, it is easier to grow garlic compared to growing other crops.

“No animal damages or eat the crop; not even deer or reindeer. Although deer walk into our fields, they do not harm the crop. Also, it doesn’t get damaged by snowfall or ice in winter. In fact, it grows very well in snow,” said Sonam Zangmo.

The only challenge the farmers of Khatoed face in growing garlic is pest infestation which started a few years ago. However, the Gewog Agriculture Extension office has a solution to this challenge. They are advising farmers to use salt hereafter to keep pest infestation at bay.

More than forty households in Khatoed Gewog cultivate garlic today.

The gewog produced nineteen thousand kilograms of garlic last year and is expecting an increased production of around twenty-five thousand kilograms this year. A kilogram of garlic fetches Nu 120 from their doorstep.

Changa Dorji, Gasa

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