Orchid farmers in Geserling struggle with low demand

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There are plans to expand the farm in the future

Choki Wangmo | days

Despite high hopes, the Geslering Women’s Orchid Farm in Dagana is struggling with a small ornamental plant market.

The farmers hope to expand the farm and grow orchids on a commercial scale, targeting markets in other dzongkhags.

The farm could only sell a few bunches of edible orchids locally. “We charge Nu 100 for a bouquet of orchid flowers; People don’t buy because it’s expensive,” said group member Tashi Chenzom.

Cymbidium species currently available in the field.

The group only earned ₹2,000 during the season. Although located near the secondary national road Dagapela-Dalbari, there are not many buyers.

Four varieties of edible and inedible orchids are grown on the farm.

Once the farm is expanded to a commercial scale, the women are expected to improve their businesses. The farmhouse is built on private land with three shade cloth greenhouses.

“We asked to rent land from the Gaug administration. With the expansion, the production could increase and we may be able to market it throughout the country. Orchids have great medicinal value,” said Tashi Chenzom.

The farm started with nine members. Two have recently left the group.

The members have not even received training in planting saplings. He bought saplings at the market and cut down additional saplings in the forest. According to farmers, the demand for the plant is increasing.

“As we expand our farm, we will need additional expertise and skills to take care of the plants,” said Indra Maya, adding that none of the women had previous experience in nursery farming.

“We will need more workers in the future. I hope we can take advantage of the farm’s location near the highway,” Kiba said.

Launched with financial support of Nu 300,000 from the Zhongkhag Economic Development Bureau, the farm is meant to provide an alternative source of income for locals.

Due to lack of irrigation water in winter and during monsoon, farmers cannot grow and cultivate vegetables on a large scale.

Bhutan is home to around 500 species of orchids, 14 of which are endemic to Bhutan.

In recent years, several new species have been recorded across the country. This includes searching for endangered species bulbophyllum trongscens from Trongsa in September

However, some wild native orchid species are at risk of being over-exploited and exploited as they are considered a delicacy in Bhutanese cuisine.

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