The farmers of Pangna Chiwog under Drujeygang Gewog in Dagana have been facing challenges to guard their crops due to wildlife attacks for over a decade now. The reason, according to the farmers is because of the uncleared bushes by most of the landowners. The Drujeygang Gewog office is, however, exploring other measures to address the issue.
Farmers say the nearby fields which have been left fallow for years are allowing wild animals to inhabit near the cultivated fields. Landowners have mostly moved to urban areas and overseas for better economic opportunities leaving their land to their elderly parents at home. Farmers mostly grow paddy, vegetables and cash crops like orange and cardamom among others.
“Most of the fields are registered private land. But we are facing the challenges when they don’t work. Deer, wild boars and monkeys come to attack our crops even if we feel like working in the field,” said Ngedup, a farmer.
Most of the farmers use green nets around their farm but they last for a few months only according to the farmers. Moreover, nets do not keep the monkeys away. Some have fenced their land using wire mesh and wooden fences but to no avail. Farmers say they can only harvest around a third of their yield annually.
“We work the whole day and the deer attack them at night. We are discouraged to cultivate crops. If they clear those bushes, it would at least keep those animals away,” said Sonam Choden, a farmer.
“Earlier, I cultivated cabbage and lentils. But, the wild animals ate 18 to 19 cabbages every night. Porcupines and deer live nearby the forested private land,” said Harka Jung Thapa, another farmer.
Despite the challenges, 14 households of the chiwog still cultivate crops in more than 50 acres of land. However, over 40 households have left their land fallow for decades.
Meanwhile, in a bid to address the issue, the Gewog administration has informed landowners to clear the bushes in their fields.
“Some owners are civil servants and the others have migrated to do business in other areas keeping elderly people at home. The land looks forested but there are fruit trees planted through the Millennium Fruit Tree Plantation. We hope they won’t abandon those land,” said Chodenmo, the Tshogpa.
“Earlier, the government provided the farmers with electric fencing. But there is no option for the monkeys. The monkeys destroy the crops the most. Other animals like wild boars and deer do not destroy the crops much. But we are exploring other option to improve the productivity of the crops like the construction of the bentonite pond with the help from ARDC Bajo,” said Nado, Drujeygang Mangmi.
For now, the farmers can only count on a serious intervention from the government and also hope that their fellow villagers return home and recultivate their fields again.
Krishna Ghalley, Dagana
Edited by Kipchu
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