The diligent farmers of Toktogom have harnessed the power of technology to safeguard their agricultural endeavors. The introduction of electric fencing and other strategies and initiatives by the Chukha agriculture department, along with other seedlings, has yielded impressive results, enhancing crop yields.
Tashi, the village head, shared that prior to that, they had almost lost half of their crops to wild bears and deer. “But after the establishment of electric fencing, we are much safer and could collect a good quantity of crops.” “The establishment of electric fencing has provided us with a new sense of security, enabling us to reap a bountiful harvest,” Tashi shared.
He also added that in the past, the encroachment of wild animals during the ripening stages of crops often left farmers disheartened, discouraging them from pursuing agricultural activities.
Sonam Dawa, a farmer, expressed the collective frustration: “Our hard work would bear no fruit as our crops would fall victim to these creatures.”
However, he said that the turning point came in 2018, when the dzongkhag agricultural department stepped in, supplying electric fencing to shield the fields. “With electric fencing in place, we no longer had to vigilantly guard our fields from sowing to harvest. Our productivity soared, reigniting our enthusiasm for farming.”
Sonam Dawa also said that if the government could allow supply fencing for the remaining field, it would definitely help them in increasing interest in the mindset of people for doing work related to cereals and other cash crops, as there is no other income for high-altitude farmers but to depend only on the production of cereals and potatoes.
The positive impact of electric fencing extended beyond individual farmers. Pema Zam shared a surge in the production of crops such as potatoes and maize. “Previously, the difficult nature of agriculture deterred us. But now, with enhanced protection, we see a resurgence in agricultural activities,” Pema Zam shared.
Furthermore, improved access to nearby towns via newly established roads has refreshed the farmers. This new road connectivity has fueled a change in interest in cultivating cash crops, with agricultural products finding a ready market in the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) colony and neighboring towns.
Karma, another proactive farmer, emphasized the crucial role of electric fencing in shaping the mindset of the younger generation towards agriculture. “The attraction of agriculture is tangled with electric fencing. Its introduction has sparked newfound enthusiasm, and I believe expanded fencing would intensify this interest,” Karma shared optimistically.
However, challenges persist. Farmers have recognized that the maintenance of electric fencing, with its associated costs and periodic replacements, can be daunting. However, as of now, they have been receiving free electric fencing from the district agricultural office.
Meanwhile, today, the farmers of Toktogom proudly cultivate a diverse range of crops, including nine varieties of cereals, potatoes, and various cash crops. Their adoption of mixed cropping practices reflects their resilience and adaptability in the face of dynamic agricultural landscapes.
Nidup Lhamo from Chukha