The villagers of Samrang vividly remember the last time they planted paddy in their fields. It was in 1985.

An acute shortage of water caused them to stop cultivating paddy. But before they were able to solve the water shortage problem, the 1990s security issue arose causing many to leave their lands.

Now, nearly three decades later, the farmers of Samrang will plant paddy in the gewog once more.

This is because the ongoing integrated livestock farm project in the gewog has construct an irrigation canal for Samrang.

The canal has been handed over to the gewog administration. However, the gewog administration will have to construct an earthen irrigation canal to connect it to the villages as the project did not construct it all the way.

The earthen irrigation canal is expected to be completed in another week. Most farmers have already cleared their paddy fields and are readying themselves to begin cultivation as soon as water arrives. The paddy cultivation season starts from May.

“We’re happy and ready to take up the paddy cultivation, we’re just waiting for the water,” said Madan, a farmer.

The irrigation canal is expected to allow villagers to cultivate paddy on about 100 acres. The 3km-canal will also benefit 32 households in three chiwogs.

Samrang Gup Tara Bir Bista said the canal would help revive fallow land. He explained that to encourage farmers to cultivate paddy, Nu 500,000 was kept aside from budget allocated for maintenance of a football ground.

Tara Bir Bista added that gewog officials will visit farmers to encourage them to use the canal.

Although the rice harvested will be for self-consumption, the gewog administration will look for marketing opportunities so income can be generated.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar