Greenhouse benefits highlanders
Home grown fresh vegetables are now part of Merakpas’ menu
Merak gewog in Trashigang lies 3,5004,000m above sea level therefore it is not a surprise that Merakpas until recently had been relying on expensive vegetables from Trashigang and other gewogs due to the harsh climatic conditions in the area.
Since the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests initiated the greenhouse project in 2013 to bring about food self-sufficiency among the highlanders, the gewog management has been teaching and helping farmers build greenhouses for free.
Vegetable production in greenhouses is benefiting the inhabitants of Merak.
These days, the Merakpas do not have to depend on dried vegetables to get through the lean season of vegetable production, especially in winter.
Unlike a few years back, fresh vegetables like cabbage and spinach are becoming popular in the hamlet of snowcapped mountains. People of Merak credit the greenhouse initiative that was launched five years ago for making green vegetables available to them.
It has been almost two years now since Dema got her greenhouse and the benefits that come with it are boundless, she said. Almost all vegetables like cabbage, carrot, beans, broccoli, radish, spinach, and pumpkin can be grown in these greenhouses.
She said it would otherwise be rare to find fresh vegetables in Merak but now they get it throughout the year.
People from all the nearby chiwogs come to Aum Dema for her fresh vegetables and she earns a handsome amount by selling vegetables from her greenhouse.
Since Aum Dema provides home stay facility in her two-storied house to tourists and government officials, it has become more convenient to host guests with a continuous supply of fresh vegetables.
“Tourists and guests demand fresh vegetables in their meals and it was a big concern when we didn’t have a greenhouse,” she said. “Five years ago, the most common menu in most of the households used to be meat, dairy products and dried vegetables, which did not comprise a healthy diet.”
“Now, Merakpas are blessed with fresh and green vegetables throughout the year,” she added.
Merak Gup Lama Rinchen said that the greenhouse project received positive response from the community as it has benefited them immensely.
Lama Rinchen who also runs a home stay at his place said that greenhouses are much more convenient and cost efficient to get fresh vegetables.
He said the greenhouse project has helped highlanders achieve vegetable sufficiency.
Today, there are about 30 greenhouses in Merak and since the demand for the greenhouse is high, the gewog has plans to construct more.
According to the Gup, people who are interested in vegetable growing and who do not own cattle will receive the greenhouse.