Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse

Repeated floods and increasing human-wildlife conflict had forced them to abandon paddy cultivation.

Three decades later, the farmers of Bumdeling could plant paddy gain. And harvest time is approaching.

This had been made possible with the Royal Society for Protection of Nation’s (RSPN) initiatives to revive paddy fields to improve feeding ground for the black-necked cranes.

The revived land was handed over to the people with irrigation canal and electric fencing last year.

“We are happy to be able to grow paddy again,” said a villager, Cheten Tshering.

Another villager, Passangla, said with the revival of paddy fields, people could achieve self-sufficiency in rice.

The revival of about 10-acre land began last year. Rice terraces were left covered in sand and debris.

“Now we are confident to produce enough rice to sell even,” Dechen, a farmer, said.

Chief communication officer with RSPN, Jigme Tshering, said that RSPN with Bumdeling Gewog Administration and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) was seeking financial support to restore the rest of the agricultural land affected by the flood.

He said that the project also provided electric fencing for 113 households. “In collaboration with US-based International Crane Foundation and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, the RSPN have embarked on restoring degraded crane habitats in Bumdeling.”

To encourage farmers to continue paddy cultivation, BWS, RSPN and dzongkhag administration are exploring markets for farmers, branding the rice as Thrung Thrung Rice.