But only if the animal is severely damaging their crops

In a recent visit to the gewogs in Tsirang, agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji, encouraged farmers to kill wild boars if they damage crops.

The minister assured the people that they will not be penalised.

Crop damage by wild animals, mostly wild boars was one of the top issues the people raised with the minister.

Karma Yangzom, 44, of Mendrelgang said that last year she planted paddy on almost an acre of land but she could not even harvest half the crop.

Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that while people may kill the wild boars, it should be done only if the animal have severely damaged crops. “I’ve no objection if you kill them and tell me if anyone penalises you,” he said.

However the minister cautioned that people should not kill the animal for meat consumption.

Tsirang is one of the dzongkhags that has the least electric fencing coverage.

Many people were not aware of the facility to protect their crops from wild animals.

Farmers who are aware of electric fencing said that if fencing is provided, the entire village must be fenced.

Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji told the people that electric fencing is an old solution to protect crops from wild animals. “Electric fencing has helped many farmers across the country in safeguarding their crops,” he said. “It has kept animals as big as elephants away from crops.”

The minister encouraged farmers to put up proposals to the dzongkhag for electric fencing. “The government will provide material for whatever distance you require but you have to fence it,” he said.

In the past three years, gewogs in Tsirang has received 79.60km of electric fencing covering 784 acres of fields and has benefited 359 households.

Among the twelve gewogs, Doonglagang has the maximum amount of electric fencing at 11.2km, followed by Gosarling and Rangthaling.

Meanwhile, the chief dzongkhag agriculture officer, Pema Chofil, said that the dzongkhag has materials to cover at least 31km and they are waiting for gewogs to propose for the electric fencing.

Recently Tsholingkhar gewog proposed for eight kilometres of electric fencing and Sergithang had proposed for 17km.

While the dzongkahg agriculture sector will cover all eight kilometres in Tsholingkhar, only seven kilometres will be fenced in Sergithang.

Pema Chofil said as directed by the minister, the remaining 10km required in Sergithang will be forwarded to the ministry.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang