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Friday, July 25th, 2014 - 3:46 AM
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Chokorling farmers fight a losing battle

IMG_4965Orange trees have died in almost all the villages in Chokhorling

If it’s not blight decimating orange orchards, its wildlife marauding maize fields  Agriculture: With disease outbreak and wildlife destroying crops, farmers of Chokhorling in Pemagatshel are increasingly finding it difficult to earn an income. For over a decade farmers of the five chiwogs under Chokhorling have been fighting citrus blight that spread among the orchards, almost all of which have trees that have dried up.  Chokhorling has 267 households. Farmer said citrus blight first hit Dezemo chiwog, a day’s journey by foot from the gewog [... Read More]

Drupchus – The only potable water in Lobesa

IMG_2117Project drivers ferry about 50 jerry cans of water everyday from Penzomgyelmo drupchu below Thinleygang

Shortage: With their drinking water sources blocked by muck from road widening works that is further disrupted by the continuous rainfall, people of Lobesa make use of drupchus (holy water) in their locality. Residents said, if not for the drupchu, they would have no choice than to drink muddy water. “Drupchu is clean and dirt free despite the change in weather,” a woman, who fetches drinking water from Wola drupchu, on the way to Punakha, said. Even Punatshangchhu hydropower project (PHPA) I employees fetch drupchu [... Read More]

Nub-Chutoe’s newfound forest wealth

IMG_1501Multi-tasking : Framers search for rhizomes on their way home from work

Plants in the wild have suddenly acquired value now that there is market demand Flora: Farmers in Nub-Chutoe valley of Trongsa have found a new reason to be in the forest. The farmers, who usually spend time in farm and forest doing daily work, have now started picking mushrooms, and collecting petals of Rosa brunonii and the rhizome Paris polyphylla. These plants are found abundantly in the locality, but only recently have farmers started collecting it, because they have learned that there is a market [... Read More]

Drying apple trees worry Dogar farmers

IMG_5026Without foliage: one of the diseased tree in farmer Rinchen’s orchard

The cause of the disease that has affected this vital cash crop is as yet unascertained Horticulture: Apple growers of Dogar gewog in Paro are anxious because some of the apple trees, supposed to be green with foliage and bearing fruits at this time of the year, are barren as if it were winter. The tree trunks are healthy but the leaves, farmers said, changed colour, dried and fell.  After the leaves fell, twigs and branches began drying up as well. Within four months, the [... Read More]

Roasted corn-on-the-cob sells like hot cakes

IMG_2102Growing business: Selling roasted corn on the roadside is picking up

So much so it is now a thriving business for many along the Thimphu-Punakha highway Maize: Selling roasted corn along the highway is growing into a money-spinner not just for maize-growers in Punakha and Wangdue, but also for the unemployed. The mother of one, Sabita, 20, is an unemployed class XII graduate.  She lives in Thinleygang with her husband, whose income as a driver is hardly enough for the family. For more than two years now, Sabita has been selling roasted corn with her sister [... Read More]

New Mr Bhutan crowned

20140628_195549Champion: Pema Thekchok was crowned Mr Bhutan 2014 on Saturday at the National Bodybuilding Championship (Picture courtesy: Sonam Dendup, Bhutan Bodybuilding and Weight Lifting Federation)

Bhutan to host Asian Championship in 2016 Fitness: The seventh national bodybuilding championship was filled with surprises. While the contestants were surprised by the news that Bhutan will be hosting the Asian bodybuilding championship in 2016, spectators were left amazed when Pema Thekchok beat the two time title holder, Tandin Wangchen, whom many expected to win again, to be crowned Mr Bhutan 2014 on Saturday. A few days before the event, Pema Thekchok wrote on his Facebook page to “expect the unexpected.” Pema Thekchok, 29, [... Read More]

Govt. to pump Nu 2.2B into irrigation

DSCN4001-1Irrigation will receive top priority

Along with farm mechanisation, this input is to receive top priority in the current FYP Agriculture: Recognising that climate change is altering weather patterns, which in turn affect crop production in Bhutan, specifically paddy cultivation, the government will invest Nu 2.2B into irrigation in the next five years. Monsoon rains arriving later, and ending sooner than usual, is disrupting crop production and farm productivity, which, in Bhutan, mostly means rice. In the mid and upper altitude areas, like Thimphu, Paro and Punakha, paddy transplantation usually [... Read More]

Steer clear of state-owned land!

IMG_3203Land encroachment: Shingkhar farmers list cases of encroachment

The commission has sent a circular to ten dzongkhags to stop any such encroachment  NLC: To prevent state-owned land from being taken over by private individuals, Bumthang dzongkhag is assessing incidents of encroachment on government land, including those in reserve forests. Bumthang is one of 10 districts assessing such incidents on the directive of the National Land Commission (NLC).  A circular was sent by the commission to districts like Mongar, Haa, Trashigang, Lhuentse, Punakha, Wangdue and Bumthang on April 24 to assess encroachment. The NLC [... Read More]

Excellence award incentive to improve quality

DSC_0515The director of occupational standards department of labour ministry, Sonam Rinchen, awards the trophy to Rigsum institute proprietor

An MoL initiative to better training standards in technical and vocational institutes TVET: To encourage the country’s training providers maintain quality standards in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), labour ministry kick-started its first “quality excellence award” yesterday. Around 24 institutes participated in the first of its kind award competition, out of which 12 were shortlisted.  The best three were awarded cash prizes. Technical training institute (TTI), Khuruthang won the gold medal and Nu 50,000 as cash prize.  TTI in Chumey, Bumthang won the [... Read More]

Two new high yielding hybrid maize varieties identified

Comparson-of-Hybrids-and-Open-pollinated-varieteis-in-Biru,-Pemaling

Agriculture: The renewable natural resource research and development centre in Wengkhar, Mongar has identified two new hybrid maize varieties, which have the potential to produce high yield. According to TD Katwal, maize specialist at Yoselpang in Thimphu, yield from the new hybrid maize is much higher than the local variety.  The hybrid varieties, he said, are most suitable to be planted in the fallow paddy fields before the paddy plantation. Most of the paddy fields in the country are not cultivated during winter. “Maize will be [... Read More]

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