Agriculture: The absence of an agriculture extension officer in Wangphu gewog, Samdrupjongkhar has left villagers with no contact person to deal with regarding agriculture or cultivation issues.

Despite several requests made through the gewog tshogdu, no replacement has been sent after the former agriculture extension officer left for studies last year.

Villagers said the agriculture extension officer from Gomdar was supposed to look after Wangphu gewog, but since Gomdar is the largest gewog in the dzongkhag, they were unable to reach the agriculture officer when they needed one.

Fifty-year-old Lhatu said, without an agriculture officer, it became difficult to get seedlings or information on how to form cooperatives or avail any kinds of farmer trainings.

“Just to obtain a signature or help, we have to go all the way to Gomdar gewog,” he said. “But even if we go, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be in office because he has to also visit other villages.”

Wangphu is 12 km away from Gomdar and takes about three hours on foot.

The absence of an agriculture extension officer, according to villagers, could also be the reason why the power tiller that was distributed to the gewog office last year has remained idle in front of the RNR office.

Although the cultivation season has ended, villagers said the power tiller was never used, because there was no one to guide them on how to hire it out to the chiwogs.  The gewog also doesn’t have an operator.

Gup Sangay Tenzin agreed with the villagers on the need for an agriculture extension officer, but explained that the power tiller could not be used because one of the parts that joined the tail with the tiller was missing. “We’ve already informed about the lack of an operator but we haven’t heard anything about villagers receiving training,” he said.

The gup said they did not raise the issue before because the office was informed that placing a new agriculture new officer wasn’t possible.  He added that the gewog also lacked a forest officer.

However, dzongkhag agriculture officer (DAO), Kunzang Peldon, said the sector has already submitted the requisition for a replacement, but the gewog has never raised any issue to date. “We’re not sure if we’ll get a replacement,” she said.

Gomdar agriculture officer Tsheten Dukpa said that although he is trying, there is a need for a separate agriculture officer because he hasn’t been able to give attention to Wangphu gewog. “There are 609 households alone in Gomdar and 300 in Wangphu, so it becomes difficult to concentrate on all,” he said.

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Wangphu