Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Douchu, 50, from Kashachecko village in Rukha chiwog, Wangduehodrang, harvested the first rice produce from her one-acre land earlier this year.

With her, residents of another three households from the village cultivated paddy last year after their lands were developed for cultivation.

Until last year, only maize was grown in the fields in Kashachecko.

Douchu said that harvesting paddy for the first time reduced their expense in buying rice for consumption. “We usually spent the daily wage we earn on rice.”

She said it was challenging for families with large members.

Villagers now plan to expand their fields to cultivate vegetables and paddy. “I will grow fruits and other vegetables if there is enough water,” Douchu said.

However, lack of enough irrigation water continues to be a challenge for the residents.

To address the issue, works to bring enough irrigation water from Tingkulum began in February this year.

The new irrigation canal will also benefit more than 18 households in Manigang, who owns more than 30 acres of land.

According to the project engineer, Ngawang Dorji, almost 90 percent of land in Manigang are fallow. “The renovated irrigation canal will benefit the residents and 54 acres of land.”

The renovation project worth Nu 12.4 million is funded through Green Climate Fund.

Ngawang Dorji said that the existing irrigation water wasn’t enough for houses in Manigang and Kashachecko.

Besides the two villages, farmers from Lawa village also own land in Manigang.

Farmer Chador Pem from Lawa said villagers would cultivate their lands that were developed if there is enough irrigation water. “I have another one acre land, which isn’t developed in Manigang. I will cultivate it too if there is water.”

Local leaders of Athang gewog are also planning to develop fallow lands in Manigang.

Athang gup, Khandu Dorji, said that financial restraints were a challenge in the gewog’s plan to develop the land in Manigang. “If we develop the land and bring enough water, people will cultivate their land and not leave it fallow.”

Earlier, the villagers in Kashachecko and Lawa also received barbed wire fencing from  Thimphu Rotary Club.