Many Bumthaps, who rely on the potato as their main cash crop, are worried that unseasonal frost will affect their potato yield.

Tshering Dorji, 35, from Changwa village of Chokhor gewog, said he was disappointed to see his potato fields and kitchen garden covered in frost on the morning of April 16.

“The frost froze all the leaves of the green vegetables in my garden,” he said. “The green leaves, including those of potatoes, have become hard.”

Tshering said he grew potatoes on 1.20 acres of land. “Even chilli seedlings in the green house died.”

Another villager, Nado, 53, said he grew red potatoes on 60 decimals of land and the potatoes are growing well. “It was almost weeding time but the frost destroyed everything,” he said. “The smaller potato shoots disappeared.”

He said that while the potatoes will grow again, the yield will not be good. “The frost damaged my beans, cucumbers and pumpkin plants.”

One of the villagers in Jampa Lhakhang said they started experiencing unseasonal frost since last year.

Ugyen Dorji, 57, from Dekiling said that with the main cash crop damaged, he is worried about repaying his loans. He said he availed a loan of Nu 100,000 to plant potatoes. “Potatoes planted on more than an acre of land have now been damaged,” he said.

Some residents of Dekiling also said the frost damaged maize and other vegetables.

Dzongkhag agriculture officials could not be contacted.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang