Farmers blame the ban on shifting cultivation for the damage caused by the boars 

HWC: With harvest time nearing, farmers of Bumdeling in Tashiyangtse are worried there may not be much left to harvest as wild pigs continue to destroy the fields.

Thinley Jamtsho, 29 from Pramar cultivated paddy on his one and half acres fields on two different locations. But he said, both fields have been almost cleared by the boars. “The moment I am away from the field, a sounder of boars enter and destroy the crop,” he said.

Both fields are located on the edge making it the first target for the boars. “Damage to crops this year is worse than last year’s,” Jamthso said.

While patrolling his paddy field yesterday, he said in a telephone interview that he is planning to harvest the left over although it needs some more time to ripe. He usually harvests about 1,500 dreys (about 2 kgs make a Dray) of paddy from his two fields. “I had expected the best yield this year but all hard work and hopes went in vain,” he said.

Kunzang Wangchuk, 45, from Betsamang village attributed the destruction by wild animals to the thick forest growth around his paddy fields.

His family members were scattered to guard different areas of the field but they are still fighting a losing battle. “We have electric fencing of about five kilometres enclosing around 70 acres of field,” Kunzang said. Wild pigs still manage to enter the fields. Kunzang said he planted paddy on around four langdo (area a pair of bulls can plough in a day) of which he has lost a langdo of paddy to the boars.

Mani Dorji, 40 from Nyangteng village said forest rules restricted people from clearing growth around fields, which is the boars’ hideout. “Government must consider allowing farmers to cut trees and clear growth within their registered lands,” he said.

The ban on shifting cultivation, say farmers is one of the reasons for increasing destruction of crops by wild animals. They also said that no report of the damage was reported to any authority this year since there was no help to the farmers in the previous years.

Bumdeling Gup Tshering Gyeltshen said many people have come to the gewog office to complain about the destruction being severe this year and that the number of wild pigs has increased in the gewog. “I have requested the agriculture extension officer to visit affected sites and prepare a report,” he said.

Agriculture extension officer Ugyen Tenzin said the destruction seems as usual but they are looking for alternatives to address the problem. He said two places in the gewog that had serious problem of wild animals in the previous years have been provided with electric fencing.

Officials from Bumdeling wildlife sanctuary said Gangkhardung and Daksa have already been electric fenced but are waiting for permit from Bhutan Power Corporation to connect it with power.

Farmers in Bumdeling plant paddy in March and April and harvests in October.

Nima Wangdi