Neten Dorji 

Trashigang—Farmers in Domkhar and Yenangbrangsa chiwogs of Samkhar gewog, Trashigang wait anxiously for news on crop compensation for their crops lost to a  windstorm. 

A severe windstorm on July 20 last year, that lasted more than 30 minutes, destroyed maize fields in the two chiwogs of Samkhar gewog. 

All households of these two chiwogs grow maize since maize is the staple food for most farmers. They do not have an alternative source of income. 

The gewog administration and relevant agencies were all informed about the disaster and thorough investigation was carried out. The community believed that they would be compensated. 

However, after the investigation, they were not shared with any information on whether they would be provided compensation.  

Villagers said that they were expecting crop damage compensation because 90 percent of households were affected.

“Every year the agriculture and gewog officials assess the damages, but we hardly get compensation from the government,” said a villager. 

He said although many programmes under agriculture sectors have been initiated to help farmers get involved and stay back in the villages, the rate of gungtong has been increasing as a result of such damages.

A resident, Sonam Jamtsho said that the crops were destroyed by the windstorm every year and they have received no compensation. 

“After the incidents, officials come for assessments and after that people are not informed about what is being done,” he said. “It would be appreciated if the agriculture sector could provide us with seeds instead of money as compensation.”

He said that a majority of farmers are discouraged from working and end up leaving their land fallow.

Another resident, Sonam Norbu, said they submitted the damage report to the gewog officials and there is no compensation from the government as of now.

“Neither are we receiving compensation nor are they providing us with seed substitutes. This discourages us from engaging in farming,” he said, adding that as a result they have to depend on imported rice.

Locals claim that officials ask each individual from every household to be present during inspections, but no news has surfaced.

Bikhar-Domkhar Chiwog Tshogpa, Jangchub, said that the frequent damage by natural disasters and attacks on farmer’s crops by wildlife is seriously affecting their efforts and is a formidable challenge for their livelihood, and increasing agricultural production.

“This discourages people from taking up farming, and acres of farmland have also been left fallow,” he said. “Furthermore, people migrate to urban areas in search of temporary job opportunities to sustain their livelihoods.”

The gewog official said reports were forwarded to the ministry through the dzongkhag administration. “We are also waiting for a response.”