Farmers in Chudzom of Sarpang dzongkhag, who are harvesting paddy these days, are disappointed with the yield.
The residents of one of the remotest gewogs in the dzongkhag claim they have lost more than half of their yield to some giant rats.
They said rats infested the field and damaged crops more than any wild animals this year.
Farmers say the rats began attacking the crop as soon as it started bearing grains. It ate the stalks too, leaving them without any hay for the cattle.
One of the affected farmers, who is also a major rice grower in Chudzom’s Lhayul chiwog is Narapati Ghimeray, 54. He grew paddy in over four-acre land this year.
He would complete harvesting in a few days. “It is a sheer disappointment. There is barely anything to harvest,” he said.
He said usually he harvested at least six huge bundles of paddy from a terrace but this time he is able to collect just one or two bundles. “I harvested at least 2,000kgs of paddy from the four-acre terraces but this year the yield would not be even half of the usual yield.”
Narapati said he would be only storing about 800kgs of paddy this year.
He said the rats had never damaged crops as it has done this year. “I cultivated paddy in the same land since my childhood but not seen such disaster.”
Farmers say that had it been other wild animals, they could have guarded the field and chased them away but rats could neither be chased nor killed.
They also said the rats are huge and reddish, which were rarely spotted before.
Another farmer who cultivates comparatively less paddy but yields enough to sustain for a year is Dilli Ram Siwakoti.
Nirmala Pokhrel| Tsirang