High altitude Paddy Cultivation in Haa Dzongkhag
The Dzongkhag Agriculture Sector coordinated the field day for harvesting high altitude paddy crop at Balamana, Samar Gewog on 6th October 2017, in collaboration with Research Development Center – Organic Agriculture (RDC-AO), Yuspiang. The field day was aimed at disseminating the technology of cultivating high altitude rice cultivation to the farmers of Samar Gewog. The field day was conducted at Balamna, Samar Gewog where rice variety called Jakar Ray Naab was cultivated in 0.70 acres of paddy field. The paddy was transplanted during the last week of April and harvested on 6th October 2017 As per the crop cut, the yield at Balamna is about 1486 kg/acres. The yield potential of Jakar Ray Naab ranges from 1600 -2400 kg/acres. Dasho Dzongrab, DLO and LRO attended the field day along with the farmers, Gup, Mangmi, GAO and Tshogpas of Samar Gewog. The field day was graced by Dasho Dzongdag by formally announcing the expansion of paddy cultivation in the following years and harvesting the first bushel of paddy from the field.
The field day also provided opportunity for hand-on experience on harvesting paddy and use of peddle thrasher by the participants.
The conventional paddy cultivation in Haa Dzongkhag is confirmed to the two Gewogs of Gakiling and Sangbaykha with an estimated area of about 220 acres under cultivation, benefiting some 207 households. The high altitude paddy cultivation for Haa was initiated by Hon’ble Lyonpo, MoAF during his visit to Haa Dzongkhag during January 2016 and cultivation began during the same year. The Department of Agriculture (DoA) provided fund support for making the wetland terrace. The RDC-OA, Yusipang provided the seeds and necessary technical inputs. The total area is just about 0.70 acres and is located at Balamna, Samar Gewog. The field belongs to one of the farmers. The altitude of the area is about 2600 masl.
During the startup year, two paddy varieties were cultivated; Khangma Maap and Jakar Ray Naab, of which, Jakar Ray Naab showed better performance. During 2017, only Jakar Ray Naab was cultivated. The origin of Jakar Ray Naab is from China. The crop is cold tolerant, about 90 -100 cm tall with red grains. The yield potential is 1600 – 2400 kg/acres. The crop is slightly susceptible to rice blast disease. The variety was release in 2006 by Variety Release Committee (VRC), DoA as high altitude rice variety recommended for irrigated conditions for agro-ecology above 2600 masl.
Rice is a staple food commodity for majority of the Bhutanese population with per capita consumption of milled rice compounded at 172 kg per year. Current rice self sufficiency for Bhutan is about 45 % (11th FYP). The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) is targeting to achieve 60% rice self-sufficiency by the end of 12th FYP. This would also mean increasing the wetland form the existing 14,378 acres to 20,286 acres to achieve the 60% rice self sufficiency. For this, the MoAF has identified rice self-sufficiency, irrigation and land development as some of the important KPIs during the 12th FYP. In line with the policy guidelines, the Dzongkhag Agriculture Sector will promote high attitude paddy cultivation from the following years based on the interest and capacity of the farmers.
Compiled and submitted by: Karchung, Sr. DAO