Sikkim farmer’s land turns tourist spot

GANGTOK, June 21 – Azing Lepcha is a progressive farmer cultivating crops on five acres of land that he inherited from his ancestors. A promising farmer of Sikkim, Azing has been growing different types of organic crops on his land at Hati-Dhunga, West district.

With hardwork, he has turned his land into a tourist hotspot for the visiting tourists at Rinchenpong.

Speaking to media, Lepcha informed that before taking up a career in the agri-horticulture animal husbandry sector he was living separately outside the State but soon after his father expired in 2003, he came back and picked up the profession that his father had started long back.

Lepcha stated that his major source of income is from orange, orchid and ginger cultivation. But in addition to this, he has started apiculture (bee keeping), fishery, animal husbandry and poultry farming in a small scale. From this year, he has also started cultivating pineapple. To begin with, he has planted about 5,000 saplings which will soon be ready for harvesting, he added.

Lepcha informed that oranges produced by him is directly marketed in Siliguri, whereas other vegetables, honey and agriculture products are sold at home or in the nearby market.

Azing confided that in a year he earns a net profit of Rs 80,000/- after excluding all expenditures made in the farm and the family.

Lepcha said that till date he has not demanded any thing from the government, and has been carrying out his farming by him- self but recently he has put forward a demand for an eco-friendly footpath. If constructed, it will provide a great access in selling the products in the market which is a challenge at the moment, he said.

Lepcha informed that to enter his farm the tourists pay Rs 20 per person as entry fees, the fees collected is utilised for cleaning the area and even guide the tourists visiting the farm.

His wife Dil Maya Lepcha plays a vital role in maintatining the farm along with the children especially during their holidays.

“I want the youth across the State to take up farming as a profession which is really interesting if loved and not remain unemployed. I am ready to share my knowledge of farming not only to my children but to all those who are interested in farming”, Azing said.

He has already received a State level award in 2010, from the department of Food Security and Agriculture Developing Department under remarkable contribution towards agriculture farming.

Lepcha owns an orchid farm, 50 bee colonies producing about 300 kgs of quality honey from a rocky area by planting flower plants.

His wife, apart from supporting him in every kind of work in the field, even prepares wine out of different kinds of fruits starting from Passion fruit, oranges and many more which even adds as the additional source of income to his family.