Farmers’ claim electric fencing would ease their lives

It’s the time of the year when farmers of Zangkhar community in Drametse, Mongar, spend sleepless nights.

That is because they have to guard their only cash crop, potatoes, from wild animals, especially boars, deer and porcupine.

While most villagers guard the crops from a makeshift hut, some make fire at the side of the fields and stay awake the whole night.

Farmer Choning, 45, constructed a makeshift hut in her one and half langdo (a langdo is the land a pair of oxen could plough in a day) of potato field.

She has attached a rope on drums and tins placed on the sides of the field so that when she pulls the rope from her hut, the tins and drums make noise to scare the animals.

The mother of six said it is the income she earns from the sale of potatoes that help her meet the expenditure of her four school-going children.

“But the wild boars have attacked my field thrice and destroyed half of the crop in three months,” she said.

Choning’s family also installed lights on the sides and middle of the field to deter the animals.

Choning’s husband, Sanga, 55, guard potatoes in another field. He said the animals take advantage whenever they fall asleep.

He said they earn more than Nu 50,000 annually.

Another couple, Yeshi Wangmo, 61, and her husband Koki, 63, guard potato from a hut. The village elders said they use the money they earn from selling potato to repay the loan.

“I left some land fallow because it is too difficult for us to guard against the wild animals,” Yeshi Wangmo said.

Farmers say their life would be eased if the government provided electric fencing.

Tashi Phuntsho | Drametse