…𝑨𝒅𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒂𝒈𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆, 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝒄𝒐𝒍𝒍𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔
In pursuit of revolutionizing agricultural practices and promoting self-sufficiency in Bhutan, Kinzang Wangdi, the founder of the Oathbar Mountain Horticulture Promotion Project, initiated a cauliflower plantation project in the picturesque region of Gangtozhing. This region is located in Goenshari under Punakha Dzongkhag in 2020. The farm holds an organic certification, cultivating various organic crops, fruits, and vegetables.
Wangdi revealed that the project aims to introduce new cauliflower varieties in three different colors—white, purple, and yellow. This approach was driven by the desire to break away from traditional farming methods and incorporate new technologies and ideas into the agricultural landscape.
“The reason for introducing the new variation of cauliflower is twofold: it is presentable and, when used in salads, it is pleasing to the eyes and looks delicious. Additionally, it brings health benefits,” explained Wangdi. The seeds were sourced from Kolkata, and the purple cabbage variety was provided by the National Centre in Organic Agriculture (NCOA) in Yusipang to assess adaptability and market trends.
This venture marks the first time that the Oathbar Mountain Horticulture Promotion Project is cultivating colorful cauliflower varieties. Wangdi emphasized, “As for the white cauliflower, it is like the one that we already have, but with good resistance towards pests and diseases.”
One key advantage of cultivating these colorful varieties is their resistance to pests and diseases. Wangdi highlighted, “In the case of white cauliflower, it is easily susceptible to pests, but the new varieties show resistance as they grow larger. That is the main difference between the two.”
While chemical methods are available for pest prevention, Wangdi, committed to organic farming, said, “Instead of using chemicals, we feel that finding alternatives and experimenting with new organic varieties is a more sustainable approach.”
The project has provided employment opportunities, primarily focusing on engaging youth interested in farming. Wangdi stated, “We mostly give employment opportunities to youths who are interested in doing farming.” This aligns with the broader vision of inspiring the younger generation to take up agriculture as a viable and rewarding career option.
In terms of market strategy, Wangdi highlighted collaborations with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL), Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC), and NCOA in Yusipang. “If we successfully complete this project, we can collaborate with them and tap into international markets, including Singapore. Locally, we aim to supply our products to resorts and big hotels.”
Wangdi’s overarching goal is to contribute to Bhutan’s self-sufficiency and food security. He said, “As of now, our country is not self-sufficient, and we depend too much on our neighboring countries. With a population of about 7 lakh people, it is not impossible to be self-sufficient. We want to promote and support our country in being self-sufficient as much as possible.”
The project has allocated a substantial budget to achieve this vision, with a focus on leveraging modern initiatives, techniques, and technology to make agriculture more appealing to the youth. Wangdi believes that embracing new varieties with inherent resistance to pests and diseases, coupled with high yields, will attract more individuals to agriculture.
“Most of our youth are not interested in agriculture due to the perception that it is a difficult job. By introducing new initiatives and technologies and moving away from old traditions, we can make agriculture more sustainable and enticing. If our agriculture is sustained, and more people take up farming, it will contribute significantly to Bhutan being a self-sufficient country and achieving our goal of food security,” Wangdi concluded.
The Oathbar Mountain Horticulture Promotion Project stands as a beacon of innovation in Bhutan’s agricultural landscape, ushering in a new era of sustainable farming practices and a colorful array of cauliflower varieties.