Neten Dorji | Trashigang

After leaving paddy fields in Yomdey fallow for almost 22 years, farmers of 15 households in Bartsham, Trashigang, will cultivate paddy this year.

Farmers said the fields located near the Gamrichu, about 7km from Trashigang town, were fertile, but they were forced to leave them fallow as floods damaged their irrigation canal.

Yomdey was once popular for paddy cultivation

With Trashigang dzongkhag administration repairing the irrigation canal, developing the land, constructing farm roads and providing electric fencing, farmers have already cleared their fields and are cultivating hybrid maize.

Dzongkhag officials said pipes for irrigation canal would be laid before paddy cultivation season.

A farmer, Sonam Phuntsho, said they would grow chili after harvesting paddy.  There are 14 acres of dry and wetland in the area.

Assistant dzongkhag agriculture officer (ADAO), Suraj Gurung, said the dzongkhag initiated the activities after farmers proposed it. “Dzongkhag is providing materials and farmers are contributing labour to install electric fencing and other facilities.”

He said they expect farmers to grow maize, followed by paddy cultivation, and then onion and chili in winter.

He said the project targets to produce 20 metric tonnes (MT) of hybrid maize.

Although rice will be for self-consumption, agriculture officials will link the farmers with schools to supply vegetables.