Karma Tashi, 54, from Tongling Pam in Trashigang had a bountiful harvest last year.

The farmer attributes the good yield to his hard work and the newly installed electric fencing in the chiwog.

He claims that the harvests in the chiwog increased after the installation of the 2.75km electric fencing in early 2013. The fencing was further strengthened when the dzongkhag approved the renovation of the fencing last year.

Today while the rest of the four chiwogs in Radi are grappling with a constant attack of wild boar and monkey on their crops, residents of Tongling Pam chiwog are enjoying good harvests.

Records available from the gewog state that the gewog lost 1,912kg of paddy and 2,636.02kg of maize to wild boar last year. In 2015 some 1,462kg of maize were destroyed by wild boars.

According to the residents, the gewog has been losing crops to wild boars and monkey for the past few decades.

The gewog agriculture extension supervisor, Pema Wangchen, said that people from 123 households have approached him requesting for the electric fencing at their fields.

He said that more than 332 acres of the field would be covered if the proposal gets through. There are 765 farming-households in the gewog.

Pema Wangchen said that initially, people did not opt for electric fencing because it was labour intensive.

He explained that it takes about two weeks to clear the ground for the installation.  “The fencing needs constant grass cutting, which many farmers don’t desire.”

He also said that some farmers were also hesitant to procure materials that are required for the fencing such as the fencing posts, charcoal, salt and used engine oil among others. “It cost about Nu 1,200 for farmers.”

Radi gup, Kulung, said that because of electricity and biogas stoves in the villages, the use of firewood has decreased, resulting in dense forest and increase of wild animals.

Pema Wangchen said that every year about 50 percent of the crops that are located near the forests are lost to wild animals. “There is an urgent need of electric fencing here in the gewog.”

Wild boars are the most common animals that attack the crops in the gewog followed by monkeys, porcupines and barking deer.

Meanwhile, the agriculture sector of the gewog received the highest budget in the 2017-18 financial year. Of the Nu 10.63 million (M) allocated to the gewog, agriculture received Nu 5.673M. However, there is no provision for electric fencing in the budget.

Pema Wangchen said that the dzongkhag provides a separate budget for electric fencing based on the requirement and severity of the problem.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang