Monsoon rains bring relief to Punakha’s paddy farmers

With the arrival of monsoon becoming unpredictable, farmers are facing challenges in carrying out farm work like they have been traditionally doing. In Punakha, after initially fearing that the monsoon would never come this year, the recent rainfall has brought much relief to paddy farmers. 

Kencho Wangmo of Khawajara village in Toewang Gewog breathes a sigh of relief as she finally completes her paddy transplantation.

The lack of irrigation water has almost forced her to leave the field fallow. But thankfully, she was able to cultivate after receiving rainfall.

“We are carrying out our paddy transplantation after receiving rainfall, a few days ago. Earlier, I even could not sleep well worrying whether I would be able to complete the work even by the end of the sixth month of the Bhutanese calendar. However, today, I am happy as I am completing my paddy transplantation works within the early days of the sixth month.”

Likewise, other farmers in Toewang Gewog are racing against time to complete their paddy transplantation works.

“After the rainfall, we carried out the works. Even if it was my turn to receive the irrigation water, we shared it with everyone and we are happy today,” said Drali, a farmer from Tsephu_Khawakha chiwog.

“I was really worried and thought that about 50 per cent of paddy fields in my chiwog would remain fallow this year. However, we have started receiving rainfall towards the end of this fifth month of the Bhutanese calendar. Now, almost 90 per cent of the households in my chiwog have completed their paddy transplantation works,” said Tenzin Namgay, Tsephu_Khawakha Tshogpa.

Guma Gewog is another area where the farmers are facing acute irrigation water shortage.

Farmers carried out paddy transplantation using water pumps provided by the government but not all the farmers were able to finish their work.

These days, the villagers are having enough water due to the rainfall.

Last year, more than 65 acres of paddy field were left fallow in the gewog, but this time, farmers are planning to cultivate in all the fields.

“We have almost finished paddy transplantation works as we have received enough irrigation water. We are happy. Though we were not able to carry out the work on time, we could at least complete it without keeping our land fallow,” said Kinzang Dem, who is a farmer from Dochhukha_Dzomlingthang_Ritsa chiwog in Guma Gewog.

Despite the relief brought by the rain, some farmers worry the delayed transplantation might affect the yield.

Farmers added that relying on an unpredictable monsoon is not a sustainable solution for irrigation water shortages. They have been requesting for a reliable irrigation water.

Changa Dorji, Punakha

Edited by Tshering Zam 

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