A university graduate returns home to take up farming

After graduation, many prefer working in offices. However, one university graduate from Monggar decided to break this trend and return home to his village to take up farming. Today, his cardamom farm has turned into a lucrative business.

Thirty-year-old Jigme Wangchuk from Demungla village in Tsakaling Gewog recently finished harvesting cardamom from three acres of farmland.

Jigme graduated from College in 2015. After working for two years as a contract teacher, he decided to head home to his village and take up farming.

Jigme, along with some helpers, is currently segregating the cardamom fruits. He is among the three households that have ventured into large-scale cardamom farming in Tsakaling.

“We have an issue of keeping our land fallow due to labour shortage in the village. And we don’t grow other cash crops other than cardamom in our village. So due to less requirement of field management, we started growing cardamom in the fallow land,” he said.

After being segregated, the cardamom fruits have to be dried properly before they are taken to the market. The farmers start fires and use its heat to dry the spice but Jigme says this traditional method is inconvenient.

“When we dry cardamom using the firewood, the colour turns quite dark. And people also claim that dark colour fetches a better price. We can also dry it in the sun, but people claim that it doesn’t fetch a good price when we dry it in the sun due to poor colour.”

He is hopeful relevant officials can help them with this issue. Another issue he adds is with selling the products to local traders who don’t offer good rates. He said he wanted to take his products to Phuentshogling but gave up due to the pandemic. Lack of experience in field management and human-wildlife conflict are some other challenges.

Since 2015, cardamom farming has been gradually picking up in Tsakaling Gewog. As of today, there are about 35 households in the gewog growing cardamom.

Sonam Tshering, Monggar

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen

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