Nyingshingborang farmers unable to cash in on high maize production- Pema Gatshel

Farmers in the east have been growing maize as one of the main cereal crops for generations. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, farmers of Nyingshingborang in Pema Gatshel started growing maize after a land development project. However, unlike the rest of the farmers in the east, they feed most of their harvest to cattle. Farmers say they hope to grow the crop for profit if they receive a machine to process into flattened corn.

Farmers here cultivate maize at Gongribalay, roughly around four kilometres from their settlement.

They began growing maize here after the area was developed for cultivation following a land development project a few years ago with the support of the CARLEP project.

Although the farmers here harvest a significant amount of maize, the yield is primarily used for brewing alcohol, to feed cattle, and for household consumption. They have never sold even a kilogramme of beaten corn, locally known as Tengma, a delicacy that the eastern districts are known for.

Dorji, a farmer in Nyingshingborang said,”We currently use maize to brew alcohol. If we had a cornflake processing machine, we would decrease our alcohol production and focus on producing and selling beaten corns to generate income. We, currently, do not make any money from alcohol. We would be grateful if we are provided with a machine.”

Cheten Pemo said, “We have not used maize to make flattened corn so far. We only use it to brew alcohol. However, we wish to earn some cash by making flattened corn if we get a machine as manual production is laborious.”

Kezang Tashi said, “We harvest maize in huge quantities but never earn any income from it. I hope we would be able to earn some cash by processing flattened corn if we are provided with a machine.”

The Norbugang gup said the gewog administration will provide a machine to the maize growers in the next financial year.

“We believe that providing machinery support will help solve the farmers’ problems and encourage them to cultivate more maize in the future. Therefore, we are planning to have a meeting with the Gewog Tshogdu members to discuss budget allocation for this support,” the gup added.

According to the farmers, as the road to the Gongribalay Eco-lodge passes through their maize fields, they expect to sell their produce to the visitors once the eco-lodge starts operations.

Today, despite growing maize on acres of land, farmers of Ngyingshingborang buy flattened corn from town, which are imported from other districts.

“We heard that tourists will be visiting the area once the eco-lodge begins operations. I think, that will help us earn some cash by selling flattened corn,” added Kezang Tashi.

Almost 20 households of Nyingshingborang cultivate maize on more than 20 acres of land at Gongribalay. They harvest around 30 metric tonnes of maize every season.

Thinley Dorji, Pema Gatshel

Edited by Phub Gyem

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