The recent heavy downpour created havoc in some parts of the country. But for the farmers of Dungbi village in Zhemgang, it came as a blessing. With timely rainfall, paddy growers in the village are hoping for a bountiful rice harvest this year.
Puddled with rainwater, the fields are ready for paddy transplantation. Timely rainfall has provided farmers with an adequate water supply to carry out the transplantation. The farmers depend on both irrigation water sources and rainfall for transplantation every year.
“If we can transplant paddy on time, the production increases significantly. But if we fail to do so, the production declines,” said Sonam Dema, a farmer in Dungbi.
“When there is no sufficient water, we have to keep our fields fallow. However, due to the recent continuous rainfall, we now have abundant water in the fields,” said Thinley, another farmer.
“The heavy rainfall that lashed the country recently was a saviour. Otherwise, if there is no rainwater, then our production declines. Having sufficient water in the field is important for us to increase our production,” added Dema, a farmer.
Erratic water supply and scanty rainfall have been a challenge for farmers. For decades, they have been practising an age-old tradition where farmers take turns to use the irrigation water for transplantation.
“People here have been practising Chhukor for a very long time. The plantation is decided by their turn to get the irrigation water. If one happens to miss their turn, then that person will have to wait till the end when everyone finishes their turns of transplanting the paddy,” said Dangkhar Tshogpa, Norbu.
However, the ongoing integrated irrigation and drinking water project from Sershong to Zhemgang is expected to solve the irrigation water shortage in the village.
The farmers in Dungbi cultivate rice on more than 10 acres of land every year.
Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang
Edited by Sonam Pem