To boost cultivation of paddy, which is the main crop of Domkhar village in Tshenkhar gewog, Lhuentse, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) started redeveloping the fields.

The gewog agriculture extension officer, Phurb Thinley, said they are terracing the dry lands and expanding small terraces. The officials deployed two excavators to redevelop the paddy terraces.

“We want to enhance the land productivity and efficiency mainly through use of farm machineries, cost and time taken in intercultural practices and ultimately enable commercialization of farming particularly winter vegetables after paddy cultivation,” he said.

Domkhar is located an hour drive from the Mongar-Lhuentse highway. There are 94 households in the village with more than 100 acres paddy fields. Besides paddy, people also cultivate maize, wheat and vegetables.

Phurb Thinley said the dzongkhag chose Domkhar, where 46 acres of paddy fields belonging to 37 households, are small terraces filled with stones and gullies scattered around.

He said they are redeveloping the fields by expanding smaller terraces and joining them to suit usage of simple farm machineries such as power tillers so that farmers could cultivate paddy and winter vegetables.

“More farmers wanted to redeveloped their paddy fields and there are 100 acres of small terraces expanded,” the agriculture extension officer said.

A villager, Namkha Zangmo, 31, said her small terraces are located on hill and slopes, making it difficult for them to plough. “After converting it to bigger terraces, it will be easier for my family to cultivate it,” she said. “We can even use power tillers.”

Meanwhile, farmers paid for the excavator fuel for the land re-development. The community contributes labour and provides meals to the machine operators.

An irrigation canal is also being renovated in Domkhar with Nu 43 million from the government of India support.

Tashi Phuntsho | Lhuentse