Like most farmers in the country, residents of Wangkha village in Kangpara, Trashigang, stayed awake throughout the night to guard their crops against wild animals.
Farmers say they had to take turns to patrol their fields in rain. Bumden Zangmo, 24, recollects how she spent sleepless nights in temporary sheds, warding off wild boars and deer in the middle of the night.
Farmers no longer do the chore today.
The village received solar fencing for about 11 acres of land last year. A farmer, Karma, said they could now sleep peacefully and also harvest a better yield.
Kangpara mangmi, Sangay Tenzin, said that human-wildlife conflict is one of the biggest challenges in the gewog today. “The number of abandoned land and households is on the rise because of the conflict.”
The mangmi said that to address the issue, the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) began a pilot project to see if solar fencing would prove effective.
“The project was a big success in Pasaphu chiwog. The results encouraged us to further collaborate with the agriculture department and seek similar assistance,” said Sangay Tenzin.
As of today, there are some 2.8km of solar fencing provided by RSPN and around 4.6km installed by the government in the gewog. The agriculture office under the small development project installed another 2.5km of solar fencing.
According to agriculture officials, the fencing covers some 35 acres of land, which was left fallow. The land is now being re-cultivated.
Gewog officials say there are plans to fence another 4km in the 2017-18 fiscal year. They say that the gewog office would discuss with the farmers and distribute the fencing wherever necessary before June next year.
However, some villagers said that the fencings should be higher than the existing ones. “The current fence is effective in keeping wild boars and deer at a distance,” said Bumden Zangmo. “A higher fence would be efficient against monkeys that can make bigger leaps.”
Younten Tshedup | Kangpara