Neten Dorji

Lumang— Farmers of Kharphu in Lumang, Trashigang are expecting a better harvest of their winter crops this year having beaten the denizens of the forests nearby.

Unlike in the past, villagers no longer spend sleepless nights guarding their crops.  Following a high rate of human-wildlife conflict, the Tarayana Foundation supported electric fencing in Kharphu villages.

With tangible outcomes and its effectiveness, farmers praised the support made by the Foundation. Electric fencing benefited about 27 households in Kharphu and nearby villages.

“After the solar fencing was installed, we don’t worry as much as we used to in the past years,” Sherab Pema, 40, said, who spent her entire life guarding the crops in the fields. Despite the hard work, wild animals like boars would devastate their harvest in just one night.

Increasing instances of wildlife predation have led to more fallowing of land across the gewog. Farmers were forced to depend more on imported rice and vegetables.

“Life is much better now as we can devote more time to household chores and other farming activities,”Sherub said. “We needn’t chase wild animals and guard them at night.”

Another villager, Tshewang Penjor, said, if not for the electric fencing, by the time of harvest season, more than half the crops would be lost to wild animals.

“Now we can harvest 90 percent of our crops,” he said. “The fencing has helped us protect domestic animals too.”

The 32-year-old farmer, Pema Wangda, said: “We lose interest in agricultural work when animals destroy our crops.”

The villagers mostly grow maize, buckwheat, and vegetables.

Local leaders say the installation of electric fencing has encouraged many farmers to cultivate more crops next year.

“Fallowing of land keeps increasing due to Human-wildlife conflict and rural-urban migration,” said a local leader.

Tarayana Foundation’s Field Officer, Sonam Jamtsho, said that the electric fencing was installed with financial support of Nu 0.7 million.

“We provided electric fencing with iron poles since wooden poles were ineffective in other gewogs,” he said. “We have plans to provide electric fencing in other villages too.”