Introduction of new land use and crops with the conversion of Pangzhing to Wet land in Serthi geog has contributed to food bowl and meeting APA target.

 

Tashithanjay is a small village in Serthi gewog under Jomotshangkha Dungkhag, which has 28 households with 23 hhs permanently residing in the area. The area stretches from 800 to 900 masl, and was cultivated as Pangzhing some 50 to 60 years back. Until recently the farmers in that particular village depended solely on maize as a main crop and other minor cereals and few common vegetables grown in the remote villages. The area has more than 18 acres with gentle slope that is suitable for land development into wetland considering other availability of vital resources at reach.

Hence, with the fund support of Nu. 0.2 million from the MAGIP project office, the area was decided to develop into terraces and introduce cultivation of paddy and vegetables to help farmers meet their household food self sufficiency and nutritional requirement. The historic and of course challenging year 2014 came ahead and the area was developed into terrace with technical support by the RDC-Wengkhar. Nevertheless, although there was small stream running through the village, trapping of water simultaneously was a major and important task. Yet with the same funding source, 2 kms of irrigation water through pipe lining was executed successfully and has greatly fostered the new initiatives.

Since then, the area was efficiently utilized with paddy as main crop followed by other minor cereals and few varieties of vegetables. Every year the area produces more than 29.7 MT with the average yield of 1650 kg per acre (as per the recent crop cut result reported by the Extension Officer). Now with the introduction of Central School at Menjongwoong, Serthi gewog Center, and other market outlets, there is growing demand for local vegetables in the areas, and the demand was also ignited by banning of some of the vegetables from the neighboring counties by the government. Taking this as a scope and advantage, the farmer also started producing vegetables and has helped in increasing household income and improving their livelihood. The development of the Pangzhing into Chuzhing has comparatively improved the lives of the farmers in Tashithanjay. The production of paddy and other crops and vegetables in the area also contributed to the achievement of APA target and meeting food self sufficiency policy of the Ministry at large.

Although the area was blessed with new land use and crops, through the support of MAGIP and other implementing partners, such as RDC-Wengkhar, Dzongkhag Agriculture Sector, Gewog Administration and of course the beneficiaries themselves, they were facing challenges with wild animal, especially wild pig depredation on their crops. Hence, the area was supported with electric fencing of 4 kms, through RGOB funding in 2015. From the current, 2016 planting season the village was supported with one power tiller procured through Dzongkhag/RGoB annual budget to make farming easy and economical, that can even attract youths to come back and do farming as a way of life. All the land preparation for paddy cultivation was done by the power tiller and in fact relieved with the farm labour and bullock shortage during peak season. With all the possible support and transformation since 2014 by the funding agencies and the implementing partners the area today remains as legendary and a big legacy for the generations to come.

The situation in that area will be further eased and the village will become even more conducive to do farming and harmonious to reside with the coming up of farm road construction through RGoB budget as planned and approved in this financial year 2016-2017.

 

Contributed by: Dorji Gyeltshen, DAO; Cheten Gyeltshen AEO Serthi.

Photo courtesy: Cheten Gyeltshen, and Sonam Dorji, AEO.