Going upstream following the ascending road to Kurtoe will greet you with thick jungle and the roaring Kurichhu. After crossing the Lhuentse hospital and making your way through broad leaved forests and fallow agriculture fields, you will be greeted by a smiling talkative lady, Aum Sonam Lhamo. She is one of the progressive agriculturists living in a village called Kelung under Gangzor Gewog in Lhuentse Dzongkhag. She has a poultry and a dairy farm.
Back in 2009 she started her poultry farming with a capacity of 100 birds. Then the monthly generated income was lucrative and she used to earn around Nu. 14,000 as net profit per month. Initially, the Dzongkhag Livestock Sector helped in establishing the poultry farm through the provision of construction materials and inputs supplies such as CGI, wire mesh, feeder and water filter along with other necessary technical assistants.
With gradual growth and her own enthusiasm in 2011 her poultry farm was extended to hold a size of 1000 birds. Due to her own experiences and knowledge gained, even the production of eggs during peak production period surprised her with 100% production earning a profit of Nu.80,000/month. With the income generated and profit she earned from her business she bought a Maruti-van which has helped her boost the business through marketing her eggs in Tangmachhu and Khoma. Even feed for the birds were transported in her van ultimately decreasing the cost of egg production and increasing her profit returns.
The government has started lots of opportunities for the farmers to boost the economy of the country and one such endeavour is the Rural Enterprise Development Cooperation Limited. Aum Sonam Lhamo, being one of the progressive farmers, proposed a loan amount of Nu: 0.5 million for establishing a dairy farm.
Currently with the help of the loan she has constructed a dairy shed to accommodate 6 cattle heads. Presently she has 5 numbers of milking cross cows (Jersey Cross). She has also established 3 acres of improved pasture land fenced with barbed wire. The idea of developing pastureland is to keep her farm available with fodder through all the seasons. During our visit to her farm, her farm was producing about 20 litres a day and is processed into butter and butter milk which is then sold in the Lhuentse market. She earns a net profit of about Nu. 25,000/month. At the moment she has even employed two farm labourers who are paid a monthly salary of Nu. 6,000 each.
In spite of her success story in running her poultry and dairy farm, she did express some challenges which hinders her farming activities such as inadequate supply of feed and fodder, constant rise of feed price, culling of spent birds and difficulty in marketing of eggs.
Since the scope and opportunity of dairy farming looks bright for the near future, she wishes to convert her existing dairy farm into a commercial level soon. “Although I am a female divorcee with two daughters, I am happy and proud enough in front of general society as I can stand on my own” she giggles.
Presently she is much encouraged and supported by farmers and the different organisations and institutes for achieving her dream and also for her future endeavours.
Reported by Tshegay Norbu (LPO) and Phurpa Tshering (ADLO), Lhuentse Dzonkhag, with picture by Phurpa Tshering (ADLO).
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