Agriculture: Paddy fields in Bumthang that basked in the pride of growing paddy for the first time in 2004 are today vastly left fallow.

The fields lie along the Chamkhar-Dekiling bypass that is under construction. The place is called Tsakorthang.

Today, only one farmer grows paddy there. Farmers have different reasons for not being able to continue growing paddy there. Some say the yield isn’t good, others say irrigation problems and a flood in 2008 are the main reasons.

Ugyen Tenzin from Wangdicholing owns 1.3 acres of paddy fields there. He said the fields were filled with sand during flood in 2008. He cleared the sands and continued growing paddy for about five years. But he had to give up because of poor yield. “Paddy grew very well, but it turned pale and did not ripe.”

Farmers said they tried growing paddy by taking seeds from the Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre (RNRC-Jakar) but that did not work. Some of them also tried growing potatoes for a few years, which did not yield as expected.

There are about 30 acres of paddy fields here and farmers in Wangdicholing own them.

Rinzin, 50, who owns one acre of paddy fields here that has been left fallow. He said it did not yield properly.

Pema Dratul, 54, said the yield drastically decreased.  “I started growing fodder from this year,” he said.

Tashi, 79, said he still grows paddy here despite the yield decreasing over the years. “I am only growing paddy here and I will continue growing it,” he said. This is because red rice is expensive and essential during important occasions at home.

People of Wangdicholing later started growing paddy on the plateau above the Chamkhar-Dekiling bypass road, below Wangdicholing Lower Secondary School.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang