More than 11 acres of maize fields damaged 

Disaster: Heavy rain and windstorm that lasted for about an hour in Mongar yesterday damaged more than 11 acres of maize plantations belonging to 52 households.

The affected villages are Yakpugang and Tongseng in Mongar gewog, Sa Poktor goenpa in Chali gewog, and one in Drepong gewog. Maize is one of the main cash crops grown in these gewogs.

Gewog and agriculture officials visited the affected households yesterday.

Chali gewog agriculture extension supervisor Sonam Dolkar said that this was the second time that such a calamity had hit the farmers this year. Of 15 households, two households were severely affected. Around 5.5 acres of maize fields were damaged by the windstorm in Chali gewog.

“The report will be forwarded to the agriculture department for immediate intervention while a copy would be sent to the disaster management department,” the gewog extension supervisor of Mongar gewog, Sangay Wangdi said.

Sangay Wangdi also said that they could not compensate the farmers immediately except for support annually through distribution of seedlings and vegetable seeds.

Tenzin Wangmo, 35, from Yakpugang village is one of the affected farmers. She lost almost half of her maize plantation. “As a lone worker in the house, everyone is dependent on me,” she said. “We sell maize to buy rice and other essentials to support my school going children.”

Another farmer, Chungku, 61, said the windstorm hit the villages just as the plants had started to bear fruits after days of guarding their fields from wild animals.

“It is a heavy loss on the farmers,” another farmer said. “It may not be of much help but many farmers are trying to erect the plants back by using sticks and twigs.”

Some farmers also believe that such disasters hit crops at this time of the year when people visit the Larjab, a sacred place. As no one is allowed to visit the place, villagers said such disasters occur as a result.

Tashi Phuntsho | Mongar