Tali farmers venture into commercial orchid farming- Zhemgang

Taking advantage of the rich habitation of wild orchids in the district, a group of individuals at Nangkor Gewog in Zhemagang ventured into commercial orchid farming. They are anticipating a brisk business as the flowering plant is known for its many benefits. Besides being grown for its ornamental value, some species of orchids are edible and known to have certain medicinal and healing properties.

Tali Yoesel Pelri Community Forest Management Group, established in 2020, is located a few meters from the village.

The group comprising 25 households has propagated more than nine hundred saplings of the Cymbidium orchid species, an edible orchid grown largely as an ornamental plant.

Members said they have not been able to sell many saplings yet as the plants have yet to bear flowers.

Wangyel, one of the members said, “We first saw orchids in the wild. The community forest management group wasn’t doing anything fruitful as we solely depended on selling timbers, which were too far in the wild. We then thought we could capitalize on domesticating and growing orchids. This will also ensure sustainability of the plant as we reap the benefits.”

Kinzang Dolker, another member of the group said, “Till now, our business did not go well as we are in a remote area. Nobody knew that we run an orchid farm here. From this year, we started selling although in small quantities. Hereafter, we are hoping to sell more by letting people know about our farm. Maybe not many people have seen or heard about orchids. We are hoping our business will grow as more people become aware of our farm and orchids.”

The group grows seven varieties of orchids including edible and inedible species.

Some of the members said growing orchids provides them with an alternative source of income as they cannot rely on growing cash crops for commercial purposes due to human-wildlife conflict and unfavorable weather condition in the area.

The district’s forestry officials said the domestication of orchids is to make the Cymbidium or boat orchid species available to the people to reduce the unregulated collection from the wild, to build the capacity of the community forest management group to propagate and conserve orchids sustainably, and to generate income for the local communities to improve their livelihood.

The Divisional Forest Office of Zhemgang, in partnership with Community Forest Networking Group initiated the domestication of orchids in Tali with support from the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization, a treaty-based intergovernmental organization that promotes cooperation towards achieving the shared SDGs and regional and global forestry objectives.

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang

Edited by Phub Gyem

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