The success of Gaalegthang

Gaalegthang model organic village thrives, providing sustainable livelihoods for residents

In the picturesque countryside of Sarpang, the organic village model in Gaalegthang chiwog under Chhudzom flourishes, offering hope and sustenance to its residents. With focus on organic farming practices, this organic model of 36 individuals has managed to cover their daily expenses while providing quality education for their children.

Despite not amassing extravagant wealth, the income generated from the organic model village is sufficient for the villagers to lead decent lives and safeguard the future of their beloved community.

 For these hardworking individuals, the organic village serves as a legacy, ensuring their offspring can thrive without having to leave their ancestral home in search of opportunities elsewhere.

Migration, however, remains a pressing concern. According to the chairperson of the organic village, many of the youth have already ventured abroad in pursuit of greener pastures. Nonetheless, the organic model village represents their hope that future generations will continue their sustainable practices, cultivating a thriving community.

Meanwhile, Gaalegthang model organic village, nestled in the Chhudzom Gewog of Sarpang District, supports the livelihoods of approximately 36 residents by meeting their daily necessities. This model village, conceived in 2017 with 20 members, now supplies vegetables to nearby schools and Gelephu district.

The chairperson of the organic model village expressed their aspirations, saying, “Currently, we do not supply vegetables to other major cities, but our vision for the future is not limited to supplying produce within Bhutan. We aim to expand our reach and export our organic vegetables to other countries as well.”

In 2018, the village shifted entirely to organic farming, abandoning the use of fertilizers and chemicals. By 2019, the organic village model took shape, inspired and motivated by the guidance and consultations provided by the government. Additionally, with support from GEF-LDCF, the village acquired necessary resources such as polyhouses, mulching plastic, and seeds.

The chairperson highlighted the increase in membership, stated, “With an additional 15 members, our total count reached 36, with 10 females and 26 males.” The organic village model further received assistance from the Helvetas project, which enabled the purchase of an additional power tiller, polyhouses, and seeds, further enhancing their model village.

With these improvements, the villagers have now begun opening bank accounts and collectively save Nu 50 per month from each group member to invest in the growth and sustainability of their organic village model.

The primary vegetables cultivated in this organic village include chili, radish, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, peas, and sag. Due to the region’s cold climate, only one season of vegetation is possible each year. However, through the use of polyhouses, the villagers can harvest chili many times, yielding approximately 70 kilograms. They sell 100 kilograms of chili per season, fetching a price of Nu 100 per kilogram.

As a result, farmers in the organic village can generate profits ranging from Nu 45,000 to Nu 50,000 per season. Nevertheless, the village faces challenges, mainly concerning water availability and wildlife interference.

The chairperson explained, “While wildlife does not disrupt all our harvests, animals like reindeer occasionally damage certain crops, such as sag and cauliflower. Although we have implemented green net fencing, we lack electric fencing, which is necessary to safeguard specific areas.” The chairperson emphasized the importance of proper fencing in certain vegetation zones to mitigate the wildlife problem effectively.

Despite the challenges, Gaalegthang model organic village stands as a testament to the power of sustainable farming practices

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu