Neten Dorji 

Trashigang – More than 130 households in Domkhar and Yenang Brangsa chiwog of samkhar gewog lost at least 70 acres of maize and other crops to a windstorm last week. 

The windstorm with heavy rainfall on July 20 evening also damaged maize fields in two chiwogs of Samkhar gewog. The windstorm that lasted for about 20 minutes began at 3pm in the evening.

The disaster, which farmers say is the first of its kind in the gewog, has affected most parts of Domkhar and Yenang Brangsa chiwogs with some reporting as high as 80 percent crop loss.

Domkhar chiwog Tshogpa, Jangchub said that maize is the staple food for most farmers in the chiwogs. “It flattened all maize plants. Farmers are helpless. Once it is damaged, there is not much chance of recovering.”

A farmer, Tenzin, 33, is among the most affected in Yenang Brangsa village. His entire promising maize plants on his 2.5 acres have been damaged.

He said the growth this year was very good. They would be ready for harvest in a month.

“I doubt if whatever is saved from last year’s harvest would be enough for my family to survive through this year,” he said. “Now we do not have a choice but go and work at construction sites.”

Farmers are harvesting the damaged crops and feeding them to cattle as fodder.

Another farmer, Gutong said, “We are losing interest in farm work witnessing our hard work vanish this way.”

He said that his family has no other source of cash income in the village other than maize.

Farmers said that the weather turned bad early Thursday evening.

“It looks like about 90 percent of my maize has some damage to it,” he said. “I don’t think it will recover. I haven’t had this kind of damage in a few years.”

Yenang Brangsa chiwog tshogpa, Jigme Tenzin said that the situation in the affected villages was bad. “Farmers are crying. They are now left with nothing.”

Local leaders said that the gewog administrations were assessing the damages.

Villagers said that they were expecting crop damage compensation because 90 percent of households were affected.

“Every year the agriculture and gewog officials assess the damages, but we hardly get compensation from the government,” said a villager. 

Dzongkhag Agriculture Officer, Dorjee said that agriculture extension officers are assessing the damages.

“The crop damage report of Shongphu and Sakteng was sent to the department. Recent crop damage at Samkhar gewog is yet to be finalised,” he said.