Without access to a reliable irrigation water source, farmers of Uesarkha in Punakha’s Toewang Gewog have left most of their agricultural land fallow. The farmers, who depend on agriculture for their livelihood, have been leasing other’s land to grow paddy. An effort to revive their income, which is proving futile.
This land in Uesarkha has been lying idle for several years without irrigation water. About 25 acres of the 30-acre land in the village are fallow.
Ten years ago, there was a small irrigation water source, but it has since dried up, leaving the land barren.
This has become a major concern for the farmers in the village, who primarily depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
“We had a small source in the past, but it has since dried up. There is another source on the other side, but it is located within the boundary of another owner, so we cannot use it,” said Tshering Dorji, a resident of Uesarkha.
“The irrigation water has dried up, and it is becoming increasingly difficult each year. As a result, our land has remained fallow, and we now have to lease land from others for paddy cultivation,” said Nima, another resident.
“I have about two acres of land, but it is left fallow. We reported the water shortage issue to the gewog, but it seems that because there are only a few households here, the gewog is not able to invest a huge sum of money for the construction of an irrigation channel,” said Sangay, a resident.
Desperate to make ends meet, many farmers have now resorted to getting others’ land on lease and growing crops such as paddy.
However, this has resulted in increased expenses and reduced profits, causing significant financial strain on these farmers and their families.
And despite making several appeals to the Towang Gewog administration, no solution has been found as of yet.
“Since the expenditure required here would be high, the gewog was unable to allocate any budget. Nonetheless, we will make an effort to secure funds from the concerned agency,” said Ugyen Karma, Toewang Gup.
The situation is a widespread concern among the local community. It remains to be seen what steps will be taken to alleviate the plight of these farmers and ensure the sustainability of their livelihoods.
Kezang Thinley, Punakha
Edited by Sherub Dorji
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