Bidung farmers growing garlic as a cash crop

For years, the villagers of Bidung Gewog in Trashigang have been growing just maize, that too for self-consumption. But in recent years, they have switched their cropping pattern and started growing different varieties of crops for commercial purposes. Among the many crops, garlic has become one of the main cash crops for many farmers there.

These days, the farmers of Dogorom village in Bidung Gewog are busy weeding. It has been about six years since the farmers started making use of the fields even during winter.

When many farmers across the country leave their land fallow during winter, farmers in Bidung are working hard to earn some cash. The fields are filled with garlic saplings which will be ready for harvest by March.

About a hundred villagers grow garlic on a commercial scale in Bidung Gewog. Farmers said besides earning a good income, it is easy to grow garlic as animals do not attack the crop.

Every year, a farmer earns up to Nu 100,000.

“Before last year, I harvested 500 kilograms of garlic and last year it came to around 600-700 kilograms. This year, I am expecting more because I have planted more this time. Last year I earned more than Nu 70,000,” said Dema Yangzom, a farmer.

“This is my third year growing garlic on a large scale. This year’s production seems to be good and I am expecting more this time. Every year, I get around Nu 50,000- 60,000. I have to meet my children’s expenditures and other expenses from that amount. And I get to save the remaining,” said Tenzin Dema, another farmer.

Last year, the farmers cultivated garlic on 15 acres of land and produced about 27 metric tons. They sold it in nearby towns and Thimphu.

According to the Gewog agriculture extension officer, the Gewog has the potential to grow garlic on a large scale. And they plan to provide water supply, and drying facilities and facilitate access to the market.

Sonam Darjay, Trashigang

Edited by Tshering Zam

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