Solar Fencing and wild animals
Imagine and feel the frustrations and desperation of farmers who spent months cultivating their fields to see it all destroyed in one night by wild boar, monkeys or deer. What can farmers really do other than guard their fields all night long after a hard day’s work till the harvest is in?
This is the story and reality of almost every farmer in rural communities, when their main source of income is destroyed by wild animals. This year four villages Yari, Sheripong, Changchama and Daag under Mongar Dzongkhag were identified for solar fencing.
The village comprises of 73 households and is sparsely populated with approximately 450 people. People here are subsistence farmers depending on the cultivation of upland rice, potato, maize and various vegetables. These villages are the furthest by distance under Silambi gewog and are in the midst of a lush green forest, home to many different wildlife species.
Aum Muku 42, of Yari village recounted how she would spend sleepless nights in her farm hut by shouting-off wild animals from her maize fields. She is eagerly waiting to harvest almost 99% of her maize from her 4-acre land this year for the first time, after the installation of solar fencing as part of the project initiative.
“We could hardly reap half of what is sown in our field every year”, recalls Aum Pema Choden 39, (widow) with five children.”
Through this initiative, in four villages, community members have been trained on the installation of solar fences, preparation of insulators from PVC pipes, maintenance and operation of the fences, and safety measures. Recently the community successfully installed 20.6 kilometers of electric fence and managed to cover their entire landholdings.
The local innovation is engineered in collaboration with DAO, GEA and representing myself as Tarayana Field Officer. Mr. Khampa DAO said “I am very happy with the initial results and feedback from the community seeing their fields with potatoes and maize still intact.”
The villages also initiated a group among themselves to safeguard their crops and pool in financial resources with an initial budget starting from Nu.500, to a monthly contribution of Nu. 50 have been collected to sustain, manage the maintenance and operation of the fences. They drew up and enforced their internal management by-laws to manage the group. The electric fence was formally handed over to the four communities on 26th August 2016, in the presence of the Local Government Officials from Mongar dzongkhag.
Like Ap Gembo (28 years) of Daag village, rejoiced thinking about a good harvest and better income in the days ahead, which of course he thinks is possible with the help of the REAP II initiatives. We cannot wait to see these excited farmers in the villages with their good harvest and with better income that so richly deserve for all their hard work.