At this time of the year, farmers in Trashigang are usually busy preparing their fields for another year of paddy cultivation. However, due to the lockdown imposed in Trashigang for more than two weeks, works in the fields have come to a halt.
Phuntsho Dorji, a farmer from Rangjung in Shongphu gewog, said he is waiting for the lockdown to be lifted to prepare his wetland for paddy transplantation.
He added that every year he gets labor and power tiller machine from a neighboring village, which has become an issue during the lockdown.
“I have to wait for the lockdown to be lifted as I am in short of farmhands and we are not allowed to muddle up with other villages,” he said.
He said he even contacted the Member of Parliament (MP) from Bartsham-Shongphu constituency, Passang Dorji (PhD) and requested that at least farmers be allowed to get power tillers to their farms.
“We were informed that the matter is being discussed with the Prime Minister and that we might get the permission to work. The decision is expected to be finalized this weekend, but it is unsure,” he added.
Phutsho Dorji says he usually earns about Nu 40,000 to Nu 50,000 from selling rice produce each year, but this year he is worried that he will not be able to even do the plantation.
According to him, there are around 80 households in Shongphu gewog; waiting for permission to allow them to start paddy plantation.
And in what seems to be a different case, he said they are restricted to even get a power tiller from a neighboring village, but vehicles from other gewogs come to Rangjung town to get grocery items. Even individuals from other villages have reached their places and started doing construction works.
As it was getting late for paddy plantation, Phuntsho Dorji said he sought help from his two friends and they tried to plow the field.
“But we could not complete the work. We had to give up. Though the lockdown is for the benefit of us, but as farmers it is difficult if we do not work,” he said.
And during the lockdown last year, he said they were not allowed to do maize plantation and finally when they were permitted he lost his maize crops to the wild boars and horses and incurred a loss of around Nu 20,000.
Another farmer from the gewog, Tshering said the rice seedlings are ready to be transplanted and they are waiting for the lockdown to be lifted.
“Rice seedlings have to be transplanted to the field after a month and it is high time for transplantation as the seedlings have started to die,” he said, adding that they are going to suffer from food shortage this year.
“We as farmers have to depend on these works to sustain,” Tshering added.
Tenzin Lhamo from Trashigang