Bongo farmers benefit from electric fences, seek more protected farmland

After reaping the benefits of installing electric fences on more than a hundred acres of land at Pakshikha, residents of Bongo Gewog in Chhukha are asking for more farmland to be enclosed with electric fences. The gewog is one of the areas in the district which sees a high rate of wildlife attacks on crops.  Accordingly, another project to fence some 60 acres of land is underway in the gewog.

Farmers in Bongo mostly grow rice for both self-consumption and for sale. They also cultivate various vegetables such as potatoes, maize and beans. They make income by selling these vegetables as well.

However wild animals damaging crops is a challenge to the farmers. Guarding crops from wild animals has always been a daunting task. Almost every year, farmers lose a major portion of their crops to wild animals, especially wild boars, monkeys and bears.

However, a few years ago, the gewog administration started the electric fencing project in Pakshikha with support from the Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project. Since then, farmers have been able to protect their crops and vegetables from wild animals.

“Human-wildlife conflict used to be a major issue. We could not even kill the animals, thinking that doing so would be a sin. But now, electric fencing has eased our work a lot. We had to always go and guard the fields at night before the fencing was done,” said Kencho Tshering, a farmer.

“Earlier, it was challenging to guard crops from wild boars. However, after installing electric fences, it has become much easier for us,” said Tsendra, a farmer.

“The electric fence has helped us a lot. If not for the electric fence, we have to spend our nights in the fields guarding the crops from wild animals,” said Nima Tandin, another farmer.

However, there are other places that are damaged by wildlife. So, the gewog administration is planning to fence another 60 acres of land in Toktokha village.

Bongo Gup, Tshering Penjor said, “Another project is in Toktokha. In this project, it is a barbed wire fence with metal poles. We are putting two layers of the chain under the ground because wild boars dig the ground to make their way.”

He says it is a pilot project. If the barbed wire fencing proves successful, the gewog is planning to further prioritise fencing in other villages.

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