Dairy farming has now become one of the primary sources of income for the villagers of Petshelnang chiwog in Sampheling gewog. More than 25 villagers have started dairy farming in the chiwog of late.
Most villages are located on steep slopes and the farmers have resorted to raising cattle limiting other crops. The abundant availability of fodder is also another factor for the villagers to go for dairy farming.
Additionally, the community has formed a dairy cooperative whereby milk is collected and sold to a dairy farm in Pasakha. The community owns around 70 cows. Most of the farmers produce more than 15l of milk a day. Every household has up to four milking jersey cows.
Petshelnang-Dhungeyna Gonor Yargye Detshen was formed in 2017 with 23 registered members. Now, the number of members has increased to 26. Also, there are unregistered members who sell their dairy products to the cooperative.
Dairy has become a primary source of livelihood for the community apart from a nearby quartzite mining.
Push Maya Rai,40, fom Dhungeyna village started her farm 10 years ago. Now she has two milking cows. She expects two more cows to give birth in the next two months. “Raising jerseys has helped us meet our daily needs. Otherswise we had to look for jobs elsewhere,” she said. She, along with two family members, work in her farm.
Also, the farmers have started using biogas for cooking after installing biogas plants. “Now we don’t have to depend on Liquefied Petroleum Gas since it is time consuming to get one. We use biogas for cooking,” Push Maya Rai said.
Chandra Bahadur is another farmer who has started dairy farming in Dhungeyna. He has two milking cows and is planning to add more. “But right now I don’t have adequate budget,” he said. Working as a cabbie on the sidelines, the farm has helped him earn extra income for his family. He earns Nu 10,000 every month from the farm.
Meanwhile, the dairy cooperative has also constructed a concrete office which is used as a milk collection center. It has a private vehicle to ferry dairy products to Pasakha and feed the farmers. “Since the start of this cooperative, people’s interest in dairy farming has heightened. More people are opting for dairy farming as their crops are lost to wildlife predation,” said Nima Sherpa, the cooperative’s chairman.
The cooperative has a chill tank, cans and a fridge in the center to store milk. The farmers grow fodder as seeds were provided by the livestock extension center.
Petshelnang Chiwog Tshogpa said that the community’s interest in dairy is exemplary. He said that apart from the nearby mining, the community does not have much source of income. “Our farmlands are too sloppy and most of the cultivated crops fall prey to wildlife predation. It is a good initiative by the community,” he said.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing