Lhakpa Quendren | Sarpang

Monsoon has started in the villages of Sarpang. However, it does not bring much joy to the farmers. They were unable to sow paddy seeds on time because of delayed rain.

Farmers have not been able to sow their paddy seeds even by mid-June, triggering concerns about a loss in rice production.

They are worried that the low production would compel them to buy imported rice to feed their families as rice is the most important cereal crop for the farmers there.

Gakiling Gewog’s Lharing Tshogpa, Ram Bhakta Rai, said that the rains have not favoured them this time. He pins hope on next week’s shower and is preparing the fields to sow paddy seeds. “If the rainfall situation does not improve in a week, then I will have to sow millet. We will have to buy imported rice.”

“I am unable to start sowing paddy seeds and the time for sowing seeds would be over soon,” he said. “But considering the lack of water, it seems unlikely for me.”

Ram Bhakta said that the irrigation problems have severely affected paddy cultivation for some households in his chiwog. “The problems would be resolved if the irrigation canal can be connected to the water source at Parkha, located about 3km from the farmlands.”


Some paddy fields remain fallow in the absence of irrigation water

Another farmer in Gakiling, Sangay Norbu, said that there is an acute shortage of water due to a lack of rainfall. “I have managed to raise some seedlings, but it is not enough to begin paddy plantation. I have to grow for another half of the land. The rain has been very minimal this year.”

Given that the farmers are largely dependent on rainwater, the limited water supply is barely enough to irrigate all the farms when it does not rain on time.

Pema Dorji, 34, from Rangthaling in Tsirang, who is also waiting for the rain to plant paddy on his 2.5 acres, said he is not expecting a good harvest this year. “I prepared my land in anticipation of timely rain but there is no rainfall.”

Not just paddy cultivation, the residents of Rangthaling also lacked safe drinking water in their homes for many months now.

Farmers also believe that untimely rains for farming would be a signal of an inauspicious period for farmers.