A teacher couple from Chukha – Tenzin Thinley, 46, and Karma Wangmo, 44 – gave up teaching to return to Boeri village in Bongo, Chukha, Bhutan, to become farmers.

The couple wants to make use of their fallow ground and encourage people to return to their land.

Wangmo was a teacher of Tsimalakha Lower Secondary School in Chukha and Thinley was the teacher-in-charge at the rehabilitation centre of Tsimalakha. The couple was in Australia for about five years before they returned in 2016.

“Our fields were left fallow,” Thinley said. “Although we were offered jobs, we decided to do farming.”

In 2016, Thinley brought eight kiwi saplings and tried them in a pilot phase. The plants showed promising growth so the couple procured 125 more from Nepal in 2017.

“The plants are doing well,” he said. “It takes at least three years for the plants to bear fruit.”

Thinley and Wangmo have about 7.3ha of land. Last year, they planted 50 avocado saplings. Fifty more will be added this year. They have grown cardamom, too.

While they wait for the saplings to grow and give them fruits, the couple depends on poultry farming that they started last year. The farm has more than 500 birds.

“The birds give about 210 eggs a day,” Thinley said. The couple makes about US$704 (RM2,878) a month from poultry. Currently, Thinley and Wangmo live in a temporary shed.

Water, both for drinking and irrigation, is the major problem facing farmers in the community. There are about 14 households in Boeri.

“Reboot is not easy,” Thinley said. “Returning to the fields can be challenging.”

Wangmo said that she does not regret her decision to return to a farming life. “I was disheartened in the beginning as people discouraged us to get into farming,” she said. “Today, I am really happy and satisfied.”

Wangmo said they succeeded in inspiring a few farmers to get back to farming in their fallow lands, and school dropouts to take up farming in the village.

The couple has four children who join them in the fields during vacations.

“I bring them here,” Karma said. — ANN/Kuensel/Rajesh Rai