To bring youth closer to rural Bhutan, foster food security and support farmers, a million fruit trees will be planted across the country in two and a half months. The project, an initiative of the DeSuung National Service in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry was inaugurated today. It will engage around 2,000 DeSuups.
In Thimphu, 42 seedlings were distributed to three households in Chang Gewog. Seedlings of 22 different types of fruits such as almond, pear, peach and avocado will be distributed to rural households across the country by the agriculture ministry.
The fruits will be grown in gewogs across the country. The seedlings will be given to farmers based on the availability of land and their interests.
“Our source of income in Chang Gewog is fruits. For a farmer like us, firstly we don’t know where to get good seedlings such as this. Today, the government is giving us this for free. And we are also given some training. It will help us immensely,” said Jamyang Lhamo, Chang Mangmi.
About 2,000 DeSuups including 200 trained by the Agriculture Research and Development Centres will help the people.
“With the inaugural of this project in 20 districts today, we have deployed 1,334 DeSuups for now. They have been trained. His Majesty’s aspiration is to increase farmers’ income. Secondly, most DeSuups are in towns. They are not aware of people’s lives in rural areas and their hardships; how fruits are planted and the kind of fruits that grow in certain places. So, it will help them learn new knowledge,” said Tashi Tobgye, Director-General of De-Suung office.
“After about three to four years, usually, these plants will bear fruits and at the end of the season, every year, we are expecting 33,000 metric tons of fruit production and with that we are expecting our farmers’ income would be enhanced and also by consuming the fruits, we are also expecting that fruit and nutrition objective will also be supplemented,” said Yonten Gyamtsho, Director of the department of agriculture.
More than 400,000 seedlings will be distributed to gewogs in the temperate climate region and over half a million seedlings to gewogs that fall in the sub-tropical climate region.
The plantation of the trees is expected to complete by the end of May this year.