Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Bhutan : Lack of rainfall affects paddy transplantation

June 23: Farmers of Ramjar geog in Trashiyangtse are desperately waiting for rainfall to start the paddy transplantation.

It is the paddy cultivation season and farmers in Trashiyangtse are busy with farm work. Most of the farmers in the dzongkhag have completed transplanting paddy except for the farmers of Ramjar geog. The geog grows almost all type of food crops. The farmers sell potatoes, maize and chilies to generate income.

Our reporter Dorji Dema says had it not been for the water shortage to irrigate their fields, Ramjar farmers would be able to produce rice in abundance. The water shortage is a perennial problem that has beset the farmers fro years now.

As a result today, the farmers in the geog are growing maize in their paddy fields. Some farmers prefer to grow paddy at least for their family despite the water shortage. Therefore they have ploughed their terraced fields and keep them ready for rainfall.

The Ramjar gup told BBS that the geog has an acute shortage of both drinking and irrigation water. Because of this, he said they have to depend entirely on rain water. He said the farmers have performed soelkha to appease the deities and pray for rain.

He said the farmers are now discouraged and some of their fields are left fallow for years. Some have been able to collect enough rain water to transplant paddy but without abundant rainfall, the paddy saplings are withering in soaring heat.

Today the farmers of Ramjar geog sustain themselves on imported rice from India. Ramjar geog has more than 300 households.


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