Maize; still a sta­ple in Kheng

Business Bhutan - - Nation -

from maize comes in three va­ri­eties. Also, the Kheng res­i­dents beat and roast maize to make Tengma, which they pack­age and sell. Farm­ers said that the win­ter crop is best for Tengma.

Since Zhem­gang is pop­u­lar for maize, a huge scope ex­ists for com­mer­cial­iz­ing maize prod­ucts es­pe­cially through cot­tage in­dus­tries. But with lim­ited in­come to use as cap­i­tal, farm­ers are yet to start mass pro­duc­tion and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of maize prod­ucts.

Some farm­ers in­ter­viewed said they would wel­come any fi­nan­cial in­ter­ven­tion from the au­thor­i­ties.

“We can pro­duce pop­corn and even Tengma for the en­tire coun­try. But we are hand­i­capped and gov­ern­ment sup­port is nec­es­sary for in­stalling pro­duc­tion plants,” said Sonam Zangpo, a farmer.

Mean­while, the gov­ern­ment has supplied maize dry­ing ma­chines to the farm­ers in Zhem­gang to en­cour­age cul­ti­va­tion.

Zhem­gang Dzongkhag’s As­sis­tant Agri­cul­ture Of­fi­cer, Jam­bay Ugyen, said that though peo­ple are grad­u­ally chang­ing their di­etary habits with im­ported rice gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity, maize is largely cul­ti­vated in lower Kheng.

“The dzongkhag plans to sup­ply more ma­chin­ery to en­cour­age maize cul­ti­va­tion,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Jam­bay Ugyen, the gov­ern­ment is al­ready in the process of ne­go­ti­at­ing with live­stock feed pro­duc­ing com­pa­nies to sup­ply sur­plus maize for farm­ers’ in­come gen­er­a­tion. Plans are also in the pipe­line to mar­ket sur­plus pro­duce across the coun­try.

Fur­ther, the dzongkhag is ready to dis­trib­ute la­bor­in­ten­sive equip­ment to the ma­jor maize grow­ing ar­eas.

Pangkhar and Ngangla are the two high­est maize pro­duc­ing gewogs in the dzongkhag. Last year, Zhem­gang dzongkhag recorded more than 5,300 MT of maize pro­duc­tion.

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