A windstorm on the night of August 6 damaged maize in two villages of Chudzom gewog in Sarpang.

Fourteen households in Hungrel village and five households of Rujeyang lost all their maize plants. The two villages are located at a high altitude and are one of the remotest villages in the gewog.  It is at least an hour’s walk from the nearest road point.

A farmer, Dil Bahadur Rai, 27, is one of the affected owners.

He said his maize in 50 decimal land is flattened. “I’m shattered. We depend on maize as a staple diet in the locality.”

He said people in the locality depend on maize, as the land is not feasible for paddy plantation and faces water scarcity.

Dil Bahadur said the maize had just started bearing corn. “I don’t know how my family will survive this year.”

Another affected farmer is Mohan Subbha, 30, who also owns a 50 decimal land.

He said that his family of eight expected a bountiful harvest this year as each maize plant bore at least three corns. “A bountiful harvest meant not having to buy additional ration from the market, which was difficult for the family to afford.”

He said losing the crop also meant losing feed for cattle and poultry.

Mohan said that he couldn’t go out of the village to work because he has cattle to rear and look after his aged parents. “There is no source for cash income in the village.”

A day after the damage, gewog officials assessed and found that at least 21 acres of maize field was damaged in Hungrel village and about three acres in Rujeyang village. The damage report was submitted to the dzongkhag administration.

Drakchu chiwog tshogpa, Tek Nath Gautam, said that the situation in the affected villages is bad. “Farmers are crying over the damage. Maize was the only crop they grew abundantly and now it’s completely damaged.”

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang