…over 80 households in Tang affected 

YK Poudel

Late spring frost last week damaged over 120-acres of potato, wheat and barley fields in Khangrab and Tandigang chiwogs in Tang, Bumthang.

Altogether, 80 farmers, 58 in Khangrab and 22 in Tandigang could lose their crop to the frost.  

 Sangay Dawa, a farmer from Tandigang said that although it is not the first time, this year’s frost was the worst in her 25 years of growing potatoes. Sangay Dawa grows potatoes in her 1.5-acres land compared to over 2-acres in past years. 

Potatoes in Bumthang are harvested from mid-June to July. 

Potatoes in Bumthang are harvested from mid-June to July

The frost, farmers said, will affect yield. “After paying Nu 1,000 per hour for tractor, Nu 300 for power tiller and engaging over hundred workers, the hard work could go to waste,” Sangay Dawa said.

Many farmers are already concerned of what price they will fetch if the frost affects the quality of yield. 

Tashi Lhendup, Tshogpa of Tandigang chiwog, said all 22 households in the village grow potatoes, wheat and barley, and the frost has not spared a single household.

The issue was immediately examined and reported to the gewog. 

The Tshogpa of Khangrab chiwog, Sonam Dorji, said that as of now 58 potato growing farmers of the 80 households have been affected in his chiwog. 

“The last time when such a case occurred, farmers received some fertilizers which helped to an extent, however, this time we have not heard anything from the gewog officials,” he said.

As per the gewog agriculture official, the crop’s  survival possibility is quite high in lower elevations like Khangrab, although production will be hampered. “For a high elevation like Tandigang, the possibility of survival is minimal—further hindered by the harvesting season approaching,” the official said.

 Tang Gup, Ugyen Nima, said that the issue has been reported to the gewog and gewog officials have done the necessary study. “While there is no compensation for damage from frosts, the report of the challenge faced by the farmers will be submitted to the dzongkhag and be a part of the discussion during the Dzongkhag Tshogdu scheduled soon,” he said.

The gewog has been supporting the farmers with seeds and fences on a cost-sharing basis.