Electric fences have been preventing wild animal attacks

Agriculture: Following the installation of electric fencing, farmers in Thangbi in Chokhor gewog, Bumthang suffered no destruction of their crops from wild animals this year.

Prior to the installation of electric fencing, wild boars and bears would ravage their wheat crops.

Today, the farmers of Thangbi are harvesting all their wheat.

Yeshi Choden, 38, from Thangbi cultivated wheat on 1.4 acres of land in Barthang. She said the yield this year was the best its ever been.

She usually harvested some 400 drey (one drey weighs a little more than a kilogramme) a year when destruction by wild animals was less.

Following more wild animal attacks she harvested half that amount in recent years. Wild animals usually ate more than half of the wheat and other crops.

She said not a single wild boar got into her fields this year. “I feel good as I am able to harvest all that I’ve sowed,” she said.

She added that the success of the electric fencing is encouraged her to cultivate more crops.

Another farmer, Tshomo, 56, said wheat usually grows well in the area but farmers were reluctant to cultivate it due to wild animal attacks. “Now people can earn an income by selling flour,” she said.

Tshomo added that farmers used to cultivate wheat in large volumes in the past. People slashed forests and cultivated wheat besides those cultivated in their fields. “There are not many who cultivate wheat as they cannot protect it from wild animals,” she said.

Farmers said guarding crops by sleeping overnight in the fields did not really help in protecting crops. “We spent sleepless nights in the farmhouses but wild animals still took their share,” Yeshi Choden said, adding that farmers are turning to potatoes instead.

“People have been able to grow them well and farmers have also gained hope to grow more next year,” she said.

Thangbi tshogpa, Wangchuk, said he is expecting a yield of some 800 dreys of wheat from his 1.3-acre field at Barthang. He said he has not been able to harvest at the moment due to rain.

He said the electric fencing is very effective and that wild boards and even cattle never go near it. “But I don’t know how effective it would be in the future,” he said.

He also said people are growing wheat on small areas of lands which they can guard. He added that people today rely on hunting for cordyceps and purchased easily available imported rice. “People will cultivate wheat with such facilities as there is no point of leaving their lands fallow,” he said.

Of the total of 15.96km of electric fencing in Chokhor gewog, Thangbi has 0.67km fencing seven acres of dry land. Bumthang has 52.56km of electric fencing installed currently.

Nima Wangdi | Thangbi