Yangnyer farmers find lucrative business in asparagus farming

Villagers say growing asparagus does not involve much work and that the returns are financially rewarding

Asparagus farming is becoming a lucrative business for the farmers of Yangnyer gewog in Trashigang with the villagers now planning increase asparagus production in the gewog.

While a few have started growing asparagus in large areas, many farmers grow the perennial plant in about three decimals of land. The farming is gaining momentum.

Growing asparagus, according to farmers, started in the 90s when the agriculture ministry first introduced the plant in the village. A few households then first took up cultivation on a small scale.

One of the first growers, Dhendup, grew asparagus in his two-decimal land. He would make about Nu 10,000 as a bundle of asparagus then fetch Nu 25.

“Today, the price has gone up to as high as Nu 60 per bundle in the local market. I can easily make Nu 100,000 in a year,” he said. “If no one is willing to work harder, asparagus farming is better than growing potatoes.”

Today, asparagus farming is becoming a common practice among villagers here, besides potatoes. The crop is also considered as the main cash crop in the gewog.

Another farmer, Sonam, 54, started growing asparagus much later. However, he has made about Nu 500,000 in the last five years. He is already an example to others in the village.

“In 2012, I was provided with free asparagus crowns and technical assistance on my 50 decimals land. It has provided to be very rewarding,” he said.

“Growing asparagus is more profitable compared to other vegetables. In a week, we take our produce to the market twice. We make around Nu 1,000 each time, but this is not possible with other vegetables,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sonam sells his produce in Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Mongar and Samdrup Jongkhar. Now he has also started selling asparagus crowns and seeds.

“The seeds and crowns alone have fetched about Nu 40,000 so far. Next year, I am planning to plant fresh crowns in larger quantities,” he said.

Looking at the success of these farmers who are into asparagus farming, more villagers are also getting into asparagus farming today.

Villagers say growing asparagus does not involve much work and that the returns are financially rewarding.

“Earlier, I did not see people growing asparagus. It has been about a decade since people started growing asparagus,” Lhamo, a farmer said.

Jigme Wangchen from Yangnyer, T/gang