English | Dzongkha Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Upland paddy cultivation declining in the east

Sep 23, 2021

Upland paddy cultivation known as Pangbara or Kamja, was once popular in the mid and low altitude regions in the eastern part of the country. However, with easily available imported rice in the market, the upland paddy cultivation has been declining. But some villagers of Philooma chiwog in Samdrup Jongkhar are still practising the age-old tradition.

Villagers say some 20 years ago every household in Philooma chiwog use to cultivate upland paddy. But today, only 13 of them cultivate it in an area of over ten acres. There are about 50 households in the chiwog.

“We produce rice but at the same, we have to buy some. Before we used to move at the border of Pema Gatshel and cultivate upland paddy on many acres of land,” said Namkha Wangdi, a farmer.

“Youth are not interested to cultivate upland paddy these days. Earlier, we used to clear the forest and cultivate. We never had to buy rice. Now children prefer imported rice,” said Sithar, another farmer.

Villagers said upland paddy cultivation work is easy as they don’t need irrigation water.

The practice was revived with support and encouragement from the district agriculture office. The office provided seeds and technical support.

Last year, only seven households cultivated upland paddy on about four acres of land.

However, agriculture officials added that shortage of manpower and human-wildlife conflict remains a challenge for the farmers.

Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar

Edited by Tshering Zam

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