Due to lack of irrigation water and dependence on monsoon

Harvest: Unlike in the past few years, most farmers of Radhi gewog, the rice bowl of eastern Bhutan saw a drop in rice yield last year.

Save for Tongling chiwog, the remaining four chiwogs of Jonla, Pakaling, Kadam and Tongshingmang harvested about 20 percent less paddy.

Farmers attributed the decline in yield to lack of irrigation water. Radhi mangmi, Pema Wangchuk, said the transplantation gets delayed by more than a month every season.

“With water sources remaining dry until May, we have to wait for monsoon to arrive,” he said.

This, he said was affecting the timely growth of paddy resulting in a lower yield. Last year, they had to wait even longer.

“Those who would harvest up to 2,000Kg of paddy every year harvested about 1,500Kg in 2014,” he said.

Since Tongling has a proper irrigation water supply, he said the chiwog enjoyed a better harvest.

A farmer, Sangay Zangmo, said the yield from her half an acre paddy field was comparatively lower last year.

“The dry spell followed by erratic rainfall could be the reason for lower yield,” she said. “More over, rummaging by wild animals only worsened the situation and yield dropped by almost 700Kg.”

Another farmer, Kuenzang Yeshey, said the problem of not having a proper source had been affecting them.

“With funding from government, we tried to channel water from Yudiri in 2012 but flooding of the river damaged the irrigation channel,” he said.

Meanwhile, mangmi Pema Wangchuk, said they are hoping for the government to help them come up with a stable source for irrigation water.

“The agriculture minister, during his recent visit said the ministry would look into the matter,” he said. “Otherwise, the yield would completely depend on the arrival of monsoon.”

By Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang