Green Tea house for Samdrupcholing Zang Ja Tshongley Detshen inaugurated
June 28, Trongsa: The Honâ€™ble Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF), Dasho Sherub Gyaltshen inaugurated a green tea house built under the support of the Focus Village Rural Development Project (FVRDP) of Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology (GNTECH), Republic of Korea and the Council for RNR Research of Bhutan (CoRRB), MoAF, Royal Government of Bhutan.
The Samdrupcholing Zang Ja Tshongley Detshen, is a farmersâ€™ group of Samcholing village in Trongsa who produce rare and exotic green tea. Thus, coinciding with the inaugural ceremony, they were also awarded the ownership certificate.Â In addition, the schools of the gewog also received a bus, computers with accessories and duplicating machines.
At the award ceremony, the Honâ€™ble Secretary said that the FVRD project interventions was timely and would enhance the livelihood of the Samcholing community through the integrated development of green tea, mushroom, vegetable and poultry and capacity building for the farmersâ€™ group. He hoped that this initiative would be a starting point for the Samcholing community to grow and develop into a prosperous village. He said, â€śTheir experiences could be adopted as a rural development model, which would be extended to other villages across the country.â€ť
Professor (Dr.) Jinesheng Choi, Dean of GNTECH, commented that the appraisal study for this project was first done in July 2008 by Professor (Dr.) Goon Gjung Kahng and himself.Â He said he was very pleased with the progress made so far especially with regard to the income generation for the beneficiaries.
FVRDP is a research based pilot project between CoRRB of MoAF and GNTECH University of the Republic of Korea. The Initial Memorandum of Understanding was signed in September 2008, which was later renewed in July 2011 for another three years.
The main objective of the project is to enhance the household income of the participating farmers through integrated agriculture development particularly green tea production. According to the Director of CoRBB, Dr. Tashi Samdup, the income of the farmers has increased by almost three folds with this initiative.
CoRRBâ€™sÂ Kailash Pradhan who looks after the project said that FVRDP has also supported fencing, irrigation, processing of equipment, green house, seedlings production and farmers training. He added that activities such as toilet construction and purchase of oil expeller are on-going.
Asked whether export is possible in the future, CoRRBâ€™s Director responded positively. However, as mentioned by Sangay Dorji, Gewog Extension, the current production is hardly able to meet the local demands. â€śA few years from now, at least 47 acres of land will be brought under green tea cultivation, up from the current 10 acres plantation,â€ť said Sangay. He added that by then the quantity of production would have improved drastically.
The total budget received from GNTEC for the project was US$ 0.189m and RGoB supplemented project activities worth US$ 0.065m.
The three-storied green tea house will serve as a sale outlet with a restaurant in the top floor where green tea will be prepared and served to those interested in trying green tea. The second floor will be utilised as a guest-house where those visiting the gewog and the local community can put up for the night. Such guests will be charged a fee for using the facility and are also expected to eat at the restaurant contributing to income generation for the group. The ground floor however will be used purely for green tea processing and packaging. Since green tea has to go through certain procedures before it is ready, all processing and packaging will be done at the ground floor.
Green tea is organically grown, picked and processed in the village only. It is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called plyphenols. Â Green tea was popular during the time of His Majesty the second King but its popularity has dwindled after that. This is evident from Ap Dorji in whose farmland grew two old trees. Dorji said that until such intervention from the Royal Government of Bhutan and Republic of Korea, it was like any other tree growing in his farmland. â€śWe now realised it has a big potential to generate income for ourselves,â€ť said Ap Dorji, the oldest member of the group.
The function was also attended by the Director General of Department of School Education, Ministry of Education, Director General of Department of Livestock, Directors of CoRRB and DAMC and other officials of MoAF, officials of Trongsa Dzongkhag Administration, Drakteng gewog and the members of Samdrupcholing Zang Ja Tshongley Detshen.
Reported with photos by: Ugyen Tshering, ICS at Trongsa Samcholing.