A nursery to maintain native seeds

Sonam Choki grows and supplies various types of seed and sapling

SHERAB DORJI

Thimphu

Sangay Cheki from Decheling Gewog in Nganglam Drungkhag, Pemagatshel started the Druk Shingthog Gongphel Nursery in 2010 with a mission to bank and collect native seeds and seedlings from across the country.

At first, she established her business as a research based in an area of fifty decimal lands located at Nobgang village of Talo Gewog in Punakha.

Later in the year 2012, with the financial support from Loden Foundation, she extended her business in an two-acres area which was used for commercialization of raising varieties of seedlings production and supply.

With an objective of supplying quality seedlings for Punakha and neighbouring Dzongkhags, she hopes to contribute sustainable conservation and promotion of horticultural fruits and ornamental diversity of indigenous species in Bhutan. 

With the help of her husband, who also has an adequate knowledge on agriculture, she currently runs her business with help of six other employees.

Further, she had undergone a short-term training on Nursery Management at Rural Development Centre (RDC), Zhemgang and training for fruit plants propagation from Agriculture Research and Development Centre (ARDC), Bajo in Wangduephodrang.

“Aside from the various training given by the government, I get regular feedbacks from my husband as he is professional agriculturalist,” Sangay says.

She also uses modern technologies and focuses on organic way of production to minimize the synthetic chemicals in her nursery farm. 

Sangay grows and supplies various types of seeds and seedlings which include Avocado, Pears, Plum, Peaches, Persimmon, Grapes, Chestnuts, Kiwi, Apple, Straw berries, Dragon fruits, Passion fruits, Apricot, Walnuts, pomegranate and papaya.

Fig trees like Ficus (fodder plant), Napier (fodder plant), forestry plants, ornamentals and different types of flowers are also grown in her nursery.

Her main marketing goes to individuals, institutions, Dzongkhag offices, projects and extension offices in the western part of the country. 

She also plans to establish a branch in Nganglam to deliver their services to the eastern parts of the country and neighbouring border areas of Assam, India.

However, she faces challenges with lack of proper irrigation facilities during the dry season and labourers during the peak seasons.

“Non-registered growers and un-certified plants by the Bhutan Agricultural Food and Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) offices and supplying at compromised rates in some parts of the country are some of the challenges,” she said.

Further adding, she said that some government collaborated projects and agencies are planting in the name of promotional program and adaptive research, hence supplying free of cost in bulk directly to the users affecting the market of the private entrepreneurs.

Sangay said that targeting profits are not her only priority, but to provide the services to plant enthusiasts, rural communities and agencies in the country which gives her the biggest satisfaction.

The budding entrepreneur is full of energy and permeates positivity on every person she meets, and also expects to make it big someday.

So far the journey has been good.