Visit: Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay assured electric fencing and power tillers for Kangpar and Thrimshing gewogs during his visit yesterday.

Although human wildlife conflict in the two gewogs has not severely aggravated, farmers of the two gewogs lose substantial maize and paddy crop to wild boars, monkeys and deer.

Tashi Zangmo, a villager from Sarong, Kangpar owns 50 decimal of land where she grows maize. Every year, she loses about 30 percent of her harvest to the wild animals.

“Despite guarding our fields day and night, wild animals still mange to ravage our hard earned harvests. Today, animals have started coming close to our houses,” she said.

However, both Kangpar and Thrimshing gewogs are yet to exploit the benefits of electric fencing.

Therefore, to encourage the use of electric fencing in the gewog, Lyonchoen assured the installation of two such fencing each on a trial basis to familiarize villagers on the benefits it would ultimately accrue.

Works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden explained to the people of her constituency that the matter would be further discussed with the department of agriculture to come up with plans before implementing.

For instance, the discussions would help in identifying relevant villages that would need electric fences the most.

“We need to look at it and then go for the trail installations. Without proper plans in place, chances are that all efforts might go in vain,” Lyonpo said.

Kangpar gup, Chempa Dorji said they were unsure of the procedures involved during implementation.

Should the electric fencing come free of cost, he said it would immensely benefit the villagers. However, if there were certain costs to be borne by villagers, not many would be in a position to pay.

“Last year, the agriculture department also asked us to survey some two areas where electric fencing were to be installed. After carrying out the survey, we were informed that the equipment had to be purchased on a cost sharing basis,” he said.

It was then the problem of financing the equipment became an issue, said the gup. While most households couldn’t bear the cost, those who could had their land located towards the edges of the fencing perimeters and were reluctant to pay.

“We hope villagers need not pay since Lyonchoen said the electric fencing would be installed on a trial basis,” he said.

Meanwhile, except for the one provided by the government, none of the households in Thrimshing own a power tiller.

If there were any operators in the gewog, Lyonchoen said the government would send the power tillers in about a month’s time. Otherwise, operators had to be trained first.

A villager from Thrimshing said that while power tillers have benefitted some villagers, some still preferred using oxen to plough their fields. This he said was because of the trouble involved to transport the machine in hilly areas.

“At places where there are no road connectivity, at least five strong men have to pull and drag the power tillers. Moreover, power tillers don’t till the fields as good as our oxen,” he said.

In Kangpar, gup Chempa Dorji said almost 40 percent of the villages would not benefit from power tiller given the hilly terrain.

“We need better road connectivity to harness the full potential of power tillers. However, it does benefit a lot of villages,” he said.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang