English | Dzongkha Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Upland paddy in Khangma of Pema Gatshel – a glimmer of hope for farmers


Sep 22, 2021

While a lot decided to depend on easily accessible and imported rice, two men in Khangma in Pema Gatshel worked a little harder. In the last more than five months, they have proven that with a lot of perseverance and a little bit of resource, anything can be possible. Since the last time upland paddy was cultivated in the community in 2015, they revived it recently. And their paddy is fruiting now.

In May this year, some 10 acres of land on the hilltop of Khangma chiwog was just filled with tiny sprouts of rice. And today, it is a lush green field of paddy. 23-year-old Kencho Wangdi and 67-year-old Sonam Penjor are the masterminds behind the revival of upland paddy cultivation locally known as Pangbara or Kamja.

Besides infrequent wild boars’ menace and the recent windstorm damage, nothing is stopping the men from turning the fallow land into a fortune.

According to Kencho Wangdi, this is his first attempt to grow rice in such a manner and he said that the yield is promising.

With their hard work nearing harvest, they are also sacrificing a good deal of comforts. Far away from home, they stay in a temporary makeshift to guard their crop against wild animals.

Looking at the encouraging yield, they are more determined to continue the practice.

“The yield this year is so encouraging that I am inspired to continue the upland rice cultivation. I am thinking of making it my sole source of livelihood,” said Kencho Wangdi.

Likewise, Sonam Penjor said he is also thinking of growing dry-land rice next year. “I believe this is the best option to replace the purchase of rice.”

And this time, it won’t be long before the families of these men enjoy hearty meals of rice from their field. Thanks to the Dzongkhag Agriculture Sector that supported them with the seed.

The rice will be ready for harvest by mid-next month. As they reap their hard work, it would be the beginning of yet another exciting season of bountiful paddy harvest.

Meanwhile, their neighbours are also giving a thought to follow suit. There are about 50 households in Khangma.

Thinley Dorji

Edited by Chayku 

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