7 November, Mongar: Like any farming village, Ngarupongtang village under Thangrong geog has also suffered from the human wild life conflicts of crop raids by wild animals despite putting up different types of fencings materials like barbed wire and stone walls. Farmers guard their crops day and night and yet, wild animals like pigs, monkeys, cattle, porcupine and deer take their share. Statistics maintained at the gewog extension centre shows that almost 50 % of the crop loss is due to wild boars, followed by monkeys 25 %, stray cattle 11%, Porcupine 8 % and others such as deer 10 %.
As part of the Climate Smart Village Support Program implemented by ARDC Wengkhar in collaboration with the gewog extension centre with financial support from the EU GCCA, a 5.5 km solar fence was installed in May 2017 covering 155 acres of dry land and benefiting 55 households of two villages of Ngarupongtang and Bekhulung.
The installation of the solar electric fences brought about immediate changes in these two villages. There was not a single incidence of crop damage by wild boar and deer after the fence was charged. A few cases of damage by monkeys and porcupine still continue but it is found to be minimal. More than 90 % of the crops this season was harvested successfully. The time spent on crop guarding has drastically reduced by almost 100 % and the time saved could now be used for other farming activities. Crop cultivation area within the fence has increased and has led to reversion of fallow land.
The solar electric fence has its limitations on having to maintain the fence line and replacing a few accessories especially during lightning storms. It is also effective with only a few vertebrate pests. However, its benefit far outweighs the limitations and farmers have started to get benefits from this technology with immediate impacts on reducing food shortages seen.
Ngarupongtang village is one of the poorest villages in Thangrong and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change for which the village was selected as one of the intervention sites for Climate Smart Village support Programs supported through CARLEP IFAD and EU GCCA Support to ARDC Wengkhar. The IFAD program supports soil conservation, water harvesting and crop intensification which is supplemented by the EU support for electric fencing.
Vulnerable communities particularly far flung with high incidences of poverty, natural resource depletion and other constraints require multiple supports to enhance their community resilience to food shortages brought about by both climate change and other factors.
- Submitted by Chungku, AEC Thangrong, Mongar
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