Strengthening the Resilience of the Thongrong CommunityApr 29, 2016
Farmers of Thongrong, Phongmey in Eastern Bhutan have a 4.5 km solar fencing around their agriculture fields. This is expected to reduce crop depredation by wild animals, and improve its production by at least 50 per cent. The project is spearheaded by Thongrong Sazhing Tshogpa, a community based organization (CBO) formed to sustainably manage agriculture land and community resources.
Through the project - “Increasing productivity and rural income through sustainable agriculture landscape management”, 47 households of Thongrong have brought over 70 acres of agriculture land under sustainable management by establishing hedge rows and check-dams.
In addition, farmers have cultivated mustard for the first time in their village, and this season alone, they harvested over 3000 kgs. In Bhutan, the oiling of women’s hair is big business. Farmers are already looking at marketing the surplus mustard oil for massage and hair oiling to generate cash income.
The oil expeller unit was officially inaugurated by Ms. Niamh Collier-Smith, the UNDP Bhutan Deputy Resident Representative during her recent visit to the project sites in the East. She interacted with the farmers and spoke on the importance of the project and its far-reaching impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs, which will determine global development from 2016 to 2030, places high importance on reducing poverty and hunger, and ensuring food security. She congratulated the community group for doing a great job and said, “the impact of what you can achieve here would go beyond your village, your country and across the world.”
The project is funded through UNDP-GEF small Grants Program and Community Development and Knowledge Management of Satoyama Initaitive (COMDEKS), while the technical support is provided by National Soil Service Centre and Dzongkhag Administration, Tashigang.
Mr. Sangay Wangchuk, Chairman of the CBO said, “The project has already changed their lives. Our village and precious agriculture land is protected and now produce our own cooking oil. From the coming agriculture season, we do not have to guard our crops day and night from wild animals. Our women can find more time to spend with their children and weave traditional clothes.”
Through the project, the community will protect all the five community water sources and also renovate the existing irrigation channel.
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