Farmers of Narang gewog in Mongar, who depend on maize as one of their staple diets, are spending days and nights guarding the crop against wild animals.

They say they have to spend sleepless nights, guarding the crop against wild boars a week after they sow the seeds.

Once it starts bearing fruit, monkeys attack the crop.

A villager, Tshewang Namgay, 53, said wild boars and monkeys have been causing menace every year. “We then inform the gewog administration but nothing has been done so far.”

Villagers say they now stopped informing the gewog officials, as it is time-consuming without any benefit.

Pema Jungney, 22, said wild boars attacked his maize fields on the night of August 16 but he didn’t inform anyone.

The same night, farmer Jigme Norbu, 30, from Balenmo village, also lost his crop to the wild boars. “This was the fourth time my maize crops were damaged,” he said.

He said that many farmers from his village opt to work as construction labourers because of severe human-wildlife conflict.

He said he cultivated maize on an acre of land but lost more than half of it to wild animals.

Jigme Norbu’s family also earns income by selling maize products but he is worried that he will not fetch any income this year. “We earned about Nu 10,000 last year but this year’s yield will not be sufficient for the family.”

The villagers say electric fencing is the only solution.

They say the gewog and dzongkhag officials should look into the possibility of changing the procedure to provide electric fencing.

Narang gup, Tandin Wangchuk, said the current procedure for electric fencing mandates farmers to bear 50 percent cost but most farmers are poor and cannot afford the cost.

He said the gewog officials visit the affected fields every time they receive a complaint but aren’t able to do much. “We would be grateful if the government could provide free electric fencing.”

The gup also said the gewog plans to procure electric fencing if there is gewog development grant.

Tashi Phuntsho | Mongar