Agriculture: Farmers of Saling village in Mongar are making good use of land left fallow by growing paddy.

Abundant rain has made paddy saplings healthy and the farmers have hired five power tillers from the Regional Agriculture Marketing Corporation Office in Khangma, Trashigang.

The gewog’s agriculture supervisor, Sonam Yangdon, had to ask for five more power tillers from Khangma in addition to the one in the gewog office.

The gewog has allotted three power tillers to 38 households in Galikhar village that has over 25 acres of arable land, two power tillers to Thridangbi village that has 56 households. A power tiller hired from Drepong has been given to Zhuthri village for  day and another to 25 households in Jangdung.

The gewog began hiring power tillers to stop people from leaving their fields fallow.

Rinzin Dorji, a farmer, said that hiring government machines is cheaper than hiring from private individuals.

“We opted for the government tillers because we have to pay only Nu 1,400 for eight hours. If we hire from private individuals, we have to pay more than Nu 4000 for the same number of hours,” said Rinzin Dorji.  And, with power tillers, the amount of time it takes to till the land has reduced by much.

Saling is one of the best paddy-growing gewogs in the district. A total of 227 households in the gewog cultivate paddy in about 146 acres of land. Last year, the gewog produced more than 145 metric tonnes of paddy.

Thridangbi, on the other hand, has more sharecroppers. Of 56 households in Thridangbi, less than 15 households have thram.

Dechen Wangmo, 40, is a sharecropper like her grandparents and parents before her. She grows paddy on one-acre land and she gets only certain percentage of harvest.

Tashi Phuntsho