English | Dzongkha Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Paddy fields left fallow due to shortage of irrigation water

Sep 20, 2021

Rice is an extraordinarily thirsty crop. Studies estimate that growing a kilogram of the crop requires around 12 drums (2500 liters) of water. But the farmers of Samdrupchhoeling chiwog in Samdrup Jongkhar are unable to meet this requirement. So, some of them have left their paddy fields fallow.

The existing water supply is not enough to irrigate over 40 acres of paddy fields of Samdrupchhoeling. According to the farmers, they draw water to their fields alternatively during the paddy transplantation season. Some of them also depend on rainwater for additional supply.

“I don’t own many fields. Still then, I tried growing paddy. I leased fields from my fellow villagers as well. But due to the shortage of irrigation water, I gave up the farming two years ago,” said Samdrup Gyeltshen, a farmer from Samdrupchholing in Phuentshogthang Gewog.

“This year was more challenging transplanting paddy because we received lesser rainfall. The gewog administration maintains our irrigation channel. Still, the water is not enough. We take turns to irrigate our fields,” said Dorji Tshering, another farmer from Samdrupchholing.

The Phuntshothang Gup Jamyang Gyeltshen says the gewog administration spent about Nu 2 M to maintain the existing irrigation channel. However, parts of it have been washed away by rain disrupting the supply. He adds that the office will construct a new channel, which will be more reliable.“Under the CARLEP Project, we got about Nu 8 M. After discussing with the villagers, we decided to use it to construct a new irrigation channel. We will start the works within this year.”

As per the gewog agriculture extension office, there are more than five acres of paddy fields left fallow due to the shortage of irrigation water in Samdrupchhoeling chiwog.

Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar

Edited by Sonam Wangdi

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