Research in Darla, Chucka District

Sometimes this journey feels both like a holiday and a business trip. After all… I am here for my thesis research. This picture shows the sign of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in the department of Forests and Park Services. This is in the highlands of Darla, about 4 hours drive from the capital Thimphu. This research centre provided the lodging for this field trip, it is the white guest house with the green roof on the bottom left-hand side.

Together with several work colleagues from the National Soil Service Centre and the RNR Research and Develepment Sub Centre, I am in Darla to conduct interviews with subsistence farmers and take soil samples from their cardamom-agroforestry fields. I have decided to do this research in agroforestry systems because I feel that it will become an even greater way of farming for the future.

I will be focusing on the soil fertility management in cardamom-agroforestry systems. This mainly means looking at what their inputs are for growing their cardamom-agroforest. This is usually FYM: Farm Yard Manure. What strikes me is how steep these farms can rest on. Slopes can range between 2 to 35 degrees and there are often cattle sheds along the steep slopes with cows munching on some fodder leaves like from the Ficus  tree.