Green­house ben­e­fits high­landers

Home grown fresh veg­eta­bles are now part of Mer­ak­pas’ menu

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Jigme Wangchen from Merak, Trashigang

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.

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