New irrigation water supply encourages Oleps to expand agricultural production

Oleps of Rukha Chiwog at Athang Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang are able to increase their agricultural production. This is after the farmers received sufficient irrigation water through the Green Climate Fund in the 12th Five Year Plan. Farmers there had been struggling with an acute shortage of water for agricultural purposes for decades. The new irrigation water supply has encouraged the farmers to expand their agricultural works and improve production to meet self-sufficiency.

Usually, around this time of the year, most of the fields in the village would remain fallow and dry.

But today, Rukha village wears a different look. The valley offers a picturesque view of the lush green fields of mustard and wheat plants.

Likewise, some fields are being irrigated to cultivate buckwheat and other winter crops.

After receiving sufficient irrigation water supply, farmers began to work throughout the year without having to leave their fields fallow.

Until the new irrigation water project was completed, Oleps completely depended on rainwater for paddy cultivation and had to leave their land fallow during dry winter season.

After getting the new irrigation water supply, farmers even started cultivating paddy, twice a year resulting in a drastic improvement in production.

Farmers are excited and already began to expand their production to boost their income and maintain food self-sufficiency in the community.

“We have started to expand paddy cultivation by making use of the fallow land after receiving irrigation water. We started the expansion works last year while some are carrying out the works this year. Moreover, we wouldn’t have mustard plants in our fields at this time if not for sufficient irrigation water. Since we have water supply, mustard plants are growing well,” said Chokila, a resident.

“I have a few orange trees which weren’t fruiting well due to the lack of water supply. Even the taste of oranges wasn’t so good. But since we have water now, we are watering the orange plants before flowering and as a result, seeing better quality oranges. So, we are able to meet self-sufficiency because of the adequate water supply,” said Tsagay, another resident.

Farmers say farming has become convenient and easier with the arrival of the new irrigation water supply.

The irrigation water which runs around seven kilometres is being supplied from Muktshulum stream. Green Climate Fund had spent close to Nu 28 M for the project.

“It becomes very easy to cultivate paddy when we have enough water supply. Earlier, our land would become so dry and hard as we had to depend on rainwater. It used to be challenging for seven to eight people to complete the works on a 50-decimal land in a day. But now, it has become easier for one person to work comfortably on a 25-decimal land in one day. It has become so convenient now,” added Chokila.

Tsagay said “I am planning to expand the arable land. I want to use all of my land for agriculture farming hereafter. I will grow vegetables, maize and paddy according to the feasibility in my field.”

Likewise, the gewog administration is encouraging farmers to increase production. The irrigation water supply benefits around eighty acres of land belonging to twenty households of Oleps.

“Now, farmers can carry on their paddy cultivation works on time as they have sufficient water supply. Accordingly, their production has increased. It has in fact, doubled compared to the past,” said Dawa Gyeltshen, Athang Gup.

The irrigation water supply works began in February 2021 and was completed in June 2022. As the climatic condition is favourable, Oleps cultivate almost all kinds of crops besides paddy.

Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang  

Edited by Phub Gyem 

The post New irrigation water supply encourages Oleps to expand agricultural production appeared first on BBSCL.

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