Windstorm damages maize in Yangtse

Disaster: Several langdos of maize crop in Trashiyangtse were damaged by a windstorm that hit the two gewogs of Tomzhang and Yangtse on July 6.

The affected villages are Rabti, Pam and Gangkhar in Yangtse and Menchutsangdung in Tomzhang. Rabti tshogpa, Norbula said the storm came just as the maize plants were starting to develop fruits after days and nights of guarding their fields from wild animals.

“The losses will fall heavy on the farmers of more than 20 households of Rabti. Though it may not do any good, most of them are hopelessly trying to erect the plants back by using sticks and branches,” he said.

Villagers said that maize fields of about seven households were affected in Gangkhar while two households were affected in Pam.

“About 40 percent of maize were damaged by the windstorm and we have reported the matter to the agriculture department,” Gangkhar tshogpa, Sonam Rinchen said. “If we compare the damage caused by rain and hailstones in the past, the damage this time is not as bad.”

In Menchutsangdung village, maize fields of about 25 households were affected according to Tomzhang gup, Tashi Dorji.  “The damage is not very severe but we are waiting for the agriculture extension office to assess,” he said.

Officials from the agriculture department have started inspecting and assessing the damages. Dzongkhag agriculture officer (DAO) Dorji Gyeltshen said they are yet to come up with a complete report for now.

“Going by the ongoing field inspections, damage to the maize plantations isn’t too much. We are still in the process of compiling the reports,” he said.

The DAO added that the department would support those farmers who were severely affected by the windstorm. For instance, in extreme cases where a farmer would be losing all their harvest for the year, the department would supply vegetable seedlings to make up for the losses.

“In such cases, farmers wouldn’t have any maize seeds for the next season. Hence, we would also provide them with the seed next time,” he said.

However, there won’t be any compensation because farmers don’t insure their crops.

By Tshering Wangdi,  Trashiyangtse

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