By Vincent Darlong, IFAD Bhutan
Zungleng village under Drepong Gewog in Mongar Dzongkhag (district) in Eastern Bhutan is about 7 hours walk to Mongar town. With the construction of the 10 km Kilikhar-Laptsa farm roads connecting Zungleng village with the main road to Mongar since June 2013 by IFAD-funded MAGIP project, the life of the people have changed. Before the village was connected by this farm road, the village women got up at 3-4 AM and walked down with head-loads of vegetables to Mongar requiring them nearly half day (about 7 hrs walk) through the forest path and returning to village, often only next day, with average earning of just Nu 200-250 (USD 1=Nu 60) per head-load of vegetables; frequency of travel was mostly once a week. Today, members of Women Vegetable Groups are earning about Nu 1,000-1,500 per week per household (after deducting transportation cost) and within 3-4 hours now they are able to return to the village from Mongar. Recently one more Women Farmers Group has been formed. The areas under vegetable cultivation, seasonal and off-season, have increased four times as informed by women farmers. Group formation helps in easier access to government support and extension systems, as also organizing marketing and sharing of transportation cost.
Photo: Details of Kilikhar-Laptsa Farm Road, Mongar
A panoramic view of Zungleng village
IFAD supervision mission interacted with some of the members of Women Vegetable Farmers Group at Zungleng village in November 2013.