Agriculture: With the human-wildlife conflict situation deteriorating in Yalang, Trashiyangtse, farmers say that electric fences have become necessary.

Every year, farmers lose almost 40 percent of their maize and paddy harvests to wild animals while those in the remoter corners lose as much as 70 percent. Dukti is the only chiwog that has installed a 5km-long solar fence with support from the government.

Farmers said they spend sleepless nights fighting off wild animals. Yet, attacks from wild animals have become more frequent in the last few years.

While monkeys attack crops during the day, wild boars and porcupines attack at night.

Yalang Tshogpa, Tshewang Duba said wild animals usually attacked maize fields after the fruits would mature. But this was not the case today.

“Of late, animals have started attacking maize right after fruiting begins. Maybe their numbers have considerably increased,” he said. He added that this is leading to more land being left fallow by farmers.

Wangdi, a farmer from Yerfal chiwog said villagers produce about 1,000-1,500kg of maize in a year which is mostly for self consumption.

He added that if the attacks increase, one day there may not be enough maize left for self consumption, let alone selling.

“It is high time the government installs one at Yerfal as well.”

Melongkhar chiwog Tshogpa, Taula, said villagers are willing to install electric fencing on a cost sharing basis with the government.

“Despite guarding our fields round the clock, we still lose a huge portion of our harvests to wild animals,” he said.

Although Dukti chiwog had a solar fence installed about two years back, villagers said it is not as effective when the weather remains overcast.

“The solar fencing was helpful last year but this time, it has not worked well because of the weather,” Dukti Tshogpa Pema Wangchuk said.

Yalang Gup, Chesung Wangdi said the gewog administration with support from the agriculture sector is planning to install electric fences. They have already procured materials to install an 8km-long electric fence at Yerfal chiwog.

“However, villagers were busy with paddy cultivation and we couldn’t install the fence. Further, we have about Nu 0.9M for taking up similar installations in other areas,” he said.

Tshering Wangdi | Trashiyangtse