Situated in a high-altitude region, Gasa is known for its extreme climatic conditions which is not suitable for agriculture most times of the year. Add to this is what the locals call impacts of climate change which has made the climate even more erratic. To encourage the farmers there to practise agriculture, the district administration is exploring different alternatives. This year, the district is trying out a new method of using infrared heating system to grow fresh vegetables during cold and long winter season.
Infrared heating system, a popular Korean home heating technology is now being used in one of the farms in Gasa. The technology facilitates building a conducive environment to grow vegetables. This can help the farmers control the temperature in the greenhouses.
In the pilot phase, Shekhar Wangmo from Khatoed Gewog is the only farmer in Gasa who is currently using the heating technology to grow broccoli, cabbage, and chilli among others.
“Inside, the vegetable grows faster due to the warmth. Before, we could not grow any vegetables during winter due to frost. So, this infrared heating system really benefits us,” said Shekhar.
“We have initiated this infrared heating system on a trial basis in greenhouses mainly to grow vegetables during cold season. If this is effective, we plan to introduce this in other chiwogs and in higher altitude places in Gasa,” said Choeki Wangchuk, the Assistant District Agriculture Officer.
Although, this is proving to be a successful method, the technology also has a downside to it. Keeping this infrared heating system on comes with a huge electricity bill.
To help the farmers, the district agriculture is now exploring the use of solar power to run the infrared heating system.
“During this trial period, we found that infrared heating system uses a lot of electricity and it might become difficult for farmers to use in the future. Therefore, we have decided to convert it into a solar powered heating system,” said the Assistant District Agriculture Officer.
“If this alternative goes well, every village in the district could start using this technology to grow vegetables throughout the year. For now, the district is providing the equipment free of cost. Each set of infrared heating system costs about Nu 15,000.
Kesang Wangmo, Gasa
Edited by Phub Gyem
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