For the third year this time, farmers in Shongphu Gewog in Trashigang are presently battling to save their maize cultivation from armyworm infestation and dearth of water in the gewog.
Almost around 80% of maize cultivation in the gewog have been damaged by armyworm infestation. Maize is one of the main crops of the villagers here as they use them for producing pounded maize, local wine and sell in the market.
A farmer said it is their third year that they are experiencing such cases.
He added that they noticed the armyworm for the first time in 2018, but the damage then was minimal.
“However, this year the worms have done more harm and the damage is increasing yearly,” he said, adding that maize is a favorable crop for them as it helps them to earn good money.
Apart from armyworm infestation, the issue of rainfall shortage this time is another problem confronted by the farmers here.
They say their land has dried up and the maize crops are on the verge of falling without the rainfall.
Farmer Chimi Dorji said he lost 40 decimals of maize cultivation to armyworm infestation.
“We are also eagerly waiting for rainfall as we need to do maize plantation,” he said, adding they had to water their vegetables every time in the absence of timely rainfall.
Tshering, 58, said he had reported to the gewog agriculture office about the disease and the gewog provided them with pesticides to prevent the disease.
“However, it is of no use as it does not help to prevent the disease. I haven’t reported the matter this time as I feel it has become normal and nothing is helping to prevent the disease,” he said, adding that he incurred heavy loss this year.
Business Bhutan tried to contact the dzongkhag agriculture officials on the disease, but could not get in touch while the gewog officials are on leave.
Tenzin Lhamo from Trashigang