Hailstorm destroys 80 acres of paddy field in Punakha

Agriculture: More than 80 acres of paddy field in three gewogs of Punakha were destroyed in the October 23 hailstorm affecting nearly 60 households, according to the ongoing crop damage assessment report.

While the hailstorm has affected four gewogs, Goenshari, Shengana, Kabisa and Chubu, the gewog and agriculture officials are yet to assess the damage in Chubu gewog.

The hailstorm affected 25 households of Damchi village in Kabisa gewog, 16 households of Yurbu-Gumgang and nine in Ssagasatabpa of Goenshari gewog along with 11 households of Chongshikha chiwog in Shegnana gewog, and Chhimchina chiwog in Chubu gewog.

Senior agriculture officer, N B Adhikari said around 50 percent of the farmers had completed harvesting paddy, while 40 percent still have their crops standing. More than five percent of farmers had harvested and stacked the paddy in the fields, while the rest had spread the harvest over their fields.

The damages, he said, were severe compared to the earlier hailstorm. In most cases the grains were beaten.

A majority of the affected farmers depend on paddy for income and NB Adhikari said it would take two-three days to dry the damaged crops.

Local leaders in Kabisa area the hailstorm occurred between 5:30-6pm following a heavy rainfall and lasted for about 10 minutes.

However in Shelgana, gup Samten Puntsho said the hailstorm occurred around 9:40pm on October 23 and lasted for about seven minutes. “It was heavy and surprising,” he said. “The hail stones were visible even the next day when we visited the affected fields.”

N B Adhikari said they would submit the assessment report to the department of disaster management and agriculture ministry.

Meanwhile, the crop damage report of October 13 hailstorm stated that around 35 acres of paddy field was damaged affecting 18 households of Limbukha-Ometekha, three in Chubu and one in Tshokona village.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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