Former agriculture officer establishes model integrated farm in Zhemgang

Making the best of his expertise, a former District Agriculture Officer in Zhemgang has started the first integrated horticulture and dairy farming business in the district. He has proven that the grass is indeed greener where you water it. In about a year, he has been able to create a sustainable and diversified farm. And it has captivated the attention of the local community and is already turning out to become a model farm for aspiring agriculturists in Zhemgang.

54-year-old Phuntsho quit his job as a district agriculture officer after 27 years in service.

Right after resignation, he began to set up an integrated horticulture and dairy farm at Jiwangolia in Nangkor Gewog.

As a passionate agriculturist, Phuntsho says he had always dreamt of transforming his village into a prosperous and self-sufficient community.

With a deep love for nature and a keen interest in agriculture, he decided to start the integrated horticulture and dairy farming project all by himself over an area of 20 acres of leased land.

Phuntsho said his first farm activity started with the cultivation of fodder. His initiative has transformed a barren land into a thriving agriculture haven today.

“Before, I worked with the agriculture research centres for many years and I have gained knowledge, skills and experiences during my service to the government. Now, I am using that acquired knowledge and skills to show to fellow farmers and set an example. I am hopeful that in a few years from now, I will be able to show good farming practice within our community.”

Additionally, he says, integrated horticulture and dairy farming allow for efficient land use. He can use the same land for both activities. Phuntsho says he can grow the crops in between the dairy sheds or in separate areas of the farm.

“Mine is an integrated horticulture dairy farm and it will basically have mixed farming such as livestock farming, fruits and vegetables farming and other crops as well.”

Phuntsho has also inspired his fellow villagers. They say such integrated farming ideas can uplift the livelihoods of the local community.

“Zhemgang is considered to have a high poverty rate in the country. Such innovative and integrated farming will minimise imports from other countries. This will benefit the community and help reduce the poverty rate as well,” said Ngawang Dorji, a resident.

Phuntsho invested about Nu 4.5 M to start the project. It is being supported by the Global Environment Facility’s Least Developed Countries Fund.

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang

Edited by Phub Gyem

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