Neten Dorji 

Trashigang–Farmers of Udzorong Gewog in Trashigang are expecting a better harvest this year having beaten the denizens of the nearby forests.

Unlike in the past, villagers no longer have to spend sleepless nights guarding their crops. Following a high rate of human-wildlife conflict, the gewog installed Chain link fencing in Lamzang wung paddy field.

More than 1.5-kilometre fence encloses more than 14 acres of cultivable land at Lamzang wung. Chain link fencing would benefit more than 55 households who own land at Lamzang wung.

Sangay, 61, from Udzorong said the chain link fencing has not only helped people protect their crops from wild animals but has also enabled people to reclaim land that was left fallow for many years.

“Besides monkeys, I don’t think other animals would attack our crops now. Moreover, the households with less manpower need not worry about guarding the crops,” he said. 

He said, many had their land fallow due to wild animals but they have cultivated paddy there today.

Sangay spent his entire life guarding the crops in the fields. Despite hard work, wild boars would devastate their harvest in just one night.

Another villager, Kezang, said that if not for the chain link fencing, more than half the crops would be lost to wild animals by harvest time.

“The fencing has helped us to protect domestic animals too,” she said. “We can harvest 90 percent of what we cultivate in the fields.”

She said farmers lose interest in work when crops are lost to wild animals.

Increasing instances of wildlife predation have led to more fallowing of land across the gewog.

Kezang said that in the past crops were lost to wildlife despite sleepless nights of guarding in makeshift sheds. “Electric fencing does not last long.”

Gewog agriculture extension officer, Narayan Subba, said the gewog has spent Nu 2.5 million on the project to enclose 14 acres of paddy fields.