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Climate smart agriculture farmers on the rise in Dagana, Bhutan

For almost half a decade, Hochu Leki, 39, and his wife Rinchen Dema invested their time and resources to complete the country’s first mega polyhouse that uses climate smart agricultural methods for optimised production in Gangzur, Dagana, in Bhutan. Agriculture is a never-ending job. More so when it is a farm on 60-decimals of land with a 100/24-metre greenhouse, the size of 24 normal-sized greenhouses.

For the past several weeks, Hochu had been preparing land for big green chili production by the end of this month. He wants to focus on high-value crops such as chilies and tomatoes that are in short supply in the country. The mega polyhouse, built at a cost of more than Nu three million, has yet to be completed. Mobile-controlled smart irrigation, side ventilation, drainage system, drip irrigation, rain harvesting, and mulching plastics are some of the smart agricultural initiatives he wants to use on his farm to produce food in the face of rising climate change impacts in recent years.

These methods, he expects, will reduce human-wildlife conflict, pest infestation, and protect crops from harsh climatic conditions such as windstorms and hailstorms. He said that after mandarin production was affected in his chiwog, he planted guava trees, but half the produce was lost to the monkeys.

Like Hochu, many farmers in Dagana are venturing into commercial farming under various projects. About 10 farmers in Kana Gewog, with support from the Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project, are focused on climate smart agriculture that uses materials like pre-fabricated polyhouses, plastic sheets to harvest rain and spring water, plastic mulching, and drip irrigation sets.

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