STAFF REPORTER | Thimphu
To introduce technically suitable diverse high-value fruit crops to enhance the income of rural households, the launch of the million fruit trees plantation (MFTP) was observed across the country on 15 March.
To mark the event the Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor selected 22 assorted fruits tree saplings at the event’s launch at Yusipang inThimphu Dzongkhag.
A press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) states that this initiative which was inspired by His Majesty The King will help 140,827 rural households in the country to plant at least one million fruit trees.
Based on the success of other De-suung National Service Projects and De-suung Skilling Program, this initiative will also be spearheaded by De-suups who will partner with the MoAF, Local Governments, and other relevant agencies.
The press release further states that the programs will also skill De-suups in fruit crop management. A total of 233De-suups who have been trained in land preparation for the plantation and management will now lead 1,334 De-suups for planting 439,804 temperate fruit trees and another 1,991 De-suups for planting 560,495 subtropical fruit saplings.
In order to monitor the growth of the saplings, each plant will be geo-coded using Smart App called MODA (Mobile Operation & Data Acquisition).
The fruit trees are expected to bear fruits within 3-4 years from the date of the plantation. After fruiting begins, the total annual fruit production is estimated at 33,391 metric tons which will contribute significantly to our national food and nutrition security besides enhancing rural income.
“This De-suung National Service will provide the opportunity for youth to experience village lifestyles and appreciate the contributions made by our rural communities to the nation as a whole,” the press release states.
While observing the day, over 65 Desuups and officials from the Agriculture Sector in Trongsa started planting different types of fruit trees in the district as part of the Million Fruit Trees initiative.
The saplings of 19 fruit trees such as soft shell walnut, almond, cherry, apricot, chestnut, persimmon among others were brought from Samtenling farm in Gelephu.
Jambay Yeshey, from Tashipoktor in Nubi Gewog who received 42 numbers fruit trees, said he is grateful to His Majesty the King for the Soelra.
Meanwhile, the district will plant more than 19,000 fruit trees within two months and the recipients of the Soelra will hereafter care and nurture the plants.
Similarly, the initiative was also launched in Wangdue Phodrang on the same day. 17 lead Dessups, including an additional 75 deployed by the DeSuung Head Office, and officials from the Agriculture Sector started planting different types of fruit trees in the district.
According to the Dzongkhag administration, the program is a noble initiative of His Majesty the King which aspires to bring significant impact in providing nutritional supplements, enhancing incomes, and uplifting the well-being of the rural communities of the Dzongkhag.
The Dzongkhag will plant more than 34,890 temperate fruit seedlings in March 2022 and another 14,280 subtropical fruit seedlings in May 2022. It is expected to benefit over 3,336 households and 27 schools in the Dzongkhag.
Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag received temperate fruit seedlings such as apple, persimmon, pear, walnut, kiwi, peach, plum, and almond and Sub-Tropical fruit like avocado, dragon fruit, guava, and pomegranate.
The agriculture sector under the Dzongkhag and geog administrations is supporting the program in the field. The sector also supported the budget for the inauguration and transportation of Desuups and seedlings to the gewogs.
Meanwhile, Chhukha Dzongkhag also launched the initiative with its official inauguration at Togtogom village under Bongo Gewog. On the day, 42 fruit trees in all the Gewogs were planted to mark the occasion of His Majesty’s 42nd Birth Anniversary. The activity is a joint initiative of Desuups and the Agriculture Sector.
Further, a total of 48,423 temperate and 98,293 sub-tropical fruit trees of mixed varieties will be planted in the dzongkhag starting 15 March to 15 May.
This initiative is expected to provide opportunities for Desuups to appreciate our rural farming heartlands and reciprocate with farmers for the valuable role they play in our lives. Further, this project is expected to contribute to the enhancement of nutrition and income in rural communities.
As a part of the program, a wheat thrasher machine was also supplied to the farmers of Toktogom to ease their post-harvest activities.
Realizing His Majesty’s noble vision of enhancing food and nutrition security and meaningful engagement of youth and De-sups, Dzongkhag Administration Zhemgang also joined the nation in launching the program. The day was marked by planting 42 temperate seedlings at Tali village under Nangkor Gewog.
The plantation program is spearheaded by the Dzongkhag agriculture sector in close collaboration with ARDC and Gewog administration.
The Dzongkhag will plant 20,919 temperate fruit seedlings in March and 37,719 numbers of subtropical fruit seedlings in May this year which is expected to benefit over 3,000 households and 10 schools in the district.