In Kharphu village of Lumang Gewog in Trashigang, farmers extract their own cooking oil. They extract oil from the mustard plants. Although cooking oil is a heavily imported commodity in the country, residents in Kharphu said they don’t spend much on buying edible oil.
Farmers cultivate the mustard plants in August and harvest them around this time of the year. The village has around 30 households.
After harvesting the plants, they dry them for a few days before threshing them.
The farmers cultivate two varieties of mustard plants, locally known as Memba Serbu and Memba Changlu.
For oil extraction, the farmers have to travel to Moshi village, which is almost 12 kilometres from Kharphu village. A private individual operates the machine and charges Nu 10 per litre.
The farmers have been extracting mustard oil for self-consumption in the last decade. Although some farmers buy a few litres of imported oil, most of them use mustard oil for cooking.
“We don’t have to buy cooking oil. We use the oil which was extracted last year until the next season. We don’t sell it but it’s enough for our self-consumption. I don’t know how much we are able to save but I think we can save around Nu 20,000,” said Tashi Choden, a farmer.
“It is better to extract our own oil. It costs more when we buy it. Last year, I extracted more than 40 litres of mustard oil and this year, I cannot say about the production exactly but I have cultivated more this time,” said Chimi Dema, another farmer.
Until 2020, the farmers didn’t have to travel to Moshi for extraction as they have been using the oil expeller machine which is near the gewog office.
However, it remains underutilized.
“If the machine which is located near the Gewog is functional, we can extract it easily as we don’t have to travel far away. Whereas, to reach Moshi we have to hire a vehicle,” added Tashi Choden.
The gewog agriculture extension officer said a group of farmers operate the machine and they purchase the spare parts.
And the service is expected to resume this month.
The gewog agriculture extension officer added that they have plans to get a new oil expeller machine. And with the ongoing harvest season, they are expecting to produce more than 3 metric tons of mustard seeds this time.
Sonam Darjay, Trashigang
Edited by Tshering Zam