Agriculture: Villagers of Limbukha chiwog in Punakha can now look forward to harvesting extra bags of rice and other crops.

The 29 households of Limbukha chiwog yesterday received 7.5km of electric fencing, through funding support from the National Plant Protection Centre.  Agriculture minister, Yeshey Dorji, inaugurated the fencing.

District agriculture officer (DAO), Tashi Wangdi, said the chiwog has 135 acres of wetland, 33 acres of dry land and 43 acres of fallow land.  Most owners, who had left their lands fallow, have agreed to work on their fields after the installation of electric fencing.

Farmers cited wild animals attacking the crops, water problems and labour shortage as reasons for leaving their lands fallow.

However, with electric fencing, farmers are hopeful of the situation turning around.

Officials said this was the first initiative by the community and the agriculture department towards human wildlife conflict.  Agriculture extension officials from 11 gewogs and people of Limbukha worked together to set up the electing fencing.

More than 4.5km of fencing have already been installed, as of yesterday, officials said.

The programme was started with training of trainers, and the main fencing work began from March 4.  Villagers contributed timber poles for the fencing.

Tashi Wangdi said the fencing was expected to protect agriculture produce from deer, wild boar and other wild animals.  He said, as per the report, more than 30 percent of the crops were destroyed by wild animal attacks annually.

The district agriculture office has also assured to support villagers with seeds for winter cropping.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha