Neten Dorji | Radhi

It’s harvest season in Radhi, the rice bowl of the eastern Bhutan. Farmers are seen threshing paddy on the terraces.

The harvest this year has been good. Nimble footsteps of the farmers and smiles on their faces tell.

The farmers in lower parts of Radhi harvest paddy in September for the early verities. For the late varieties, the harvest goes on until November.

Sonam Wangmo, 56, said that there was abundant harvest this year because of timely rainfall and favourable weather.

Yeshi Tshering, a farmer, said that paddy production on his field increased by almost 30 percent. “I harvested about 5000kg of rice this time—the biggest in my life.”

He said that there weren’t disastrous storms this year and farmers saw few cases of human-wildlife conflict.

Lobzang Phutsho, another farmer, said that had it not been for bountiful rains the farmers would have had to depend of irrigation water which could have affected the yield. “Irrigation water supply system is the main problem in Radhi. Farmers depend on the monsoon.”

Tandin Wangchuck, 70, said that if farmers employ modern technologies, rice yield could be doubled.

Gewog extension agriculture officer, Pema Wangchen also said: “This year, we are expecting to produce more than 2700 metric tonne of paddy.”

Radhi produced a total of 2553.59 metric tonnes (MT) of rice in 2017. The production increased to 2573.16MT in 2018. Last year the gewog produced 2640.36MT of rice despite the challenges from human-wildlife, lack of proper irrigation and shortage of farmhands.

Of the total 1258.91 acres of wetland in the gewog, 1236.19 acres are under paddy cultivation.