March 22, 2015- Punakha: Twenty-nine households in Limbukha village have received 7.5 km of electric fencing as an alternative option to protect their crops from wildlife attacks. This is the first initiative taken up by the community and the agriculture department towards the wildlife conflict.
The village has potential for agriculture farming but due to wildlife issues, farmers have not able to reap good production in the past. With the installation of fencing, they are hopeful to have better yields in rice and potato, their main cash crops along with other vegetables.
According to the Dzongkhag Agriculture Officer (DAO), Mr. Tashi Wangdi, animals like wild boar and deer are the main pests that destroy more than 50% of the farmer’s hard work annually. He shared that during crop season, farmers have to face hard time guarding their field, both day and night; because of these, many in the village have stopped winter cultivation.
The village has 135 acres of wetland, 33 acres of dry land and 43 acres of fallow land. Considering the positive impacts of electric fencing, farmers have now agreed to use the fallow land for agriculture production.
Both villagers and extension officials have been participating actively in installing the fencing as a part of hands-on training. The DAO informed that the installation is expected to be completed by the end of this month; around 4.5 km have been installed as of now.
26 year old Chagey said that all the dru-na -gu (nine food grains) can be well grown in Limbukha if the wildlife attacks are reduced. He expressed his happiness at receiving this support and looks forward to a good production this year from his 3 acres of land. Aum Dorji Wangmo, the Chairperson for the women group also expects good harvest helping her save both labour and time.
Following the installation, the Dzongkhag Agriculture Sector is planning to revive the winter cultivation in the village and help towards the substitution of vegetables import. Nu 4.5 lakhs from the National Plant and Protection Centre is allocated for electric fencing.
The electric fencing was formally inaugurated by the Agriculture Lyonpo, Yeshey Dorji. Also present at the ceremony were Punakha Dasho Dzongdag, Member of Parliament, local leaders and agriculture officials among others.
Speaking to the farmers, Lyonpo highlighted that it is important for the locals to work together with the Ministry and that everyone must take up responsibility to bridge the gap. He shared that the electric fencing has been tried in southern Bhutan very succesfully. He also shared that the Ministry is going to focus more on electric fencing and marketing among others.
During the discussion, farmers shared issues like water and labour shortages in the village. Lyonpo assured that the Ministry would explore different solutions to solve the issues raised. He further encouraged the villagers to start mushroom cultivation as the resources and billets are readily available around. He informed that the Ministry would look into the feasibility of the mushroom cultivation and provide them the technical assistance accordingly.
Tshering Doma with additional inputs by Tashi Dendup, Wangdue Forest Division
Photos by Choidup Zangpo, ICS
3,221 total views, 1 views today