Empty houses increasing in Dagana

A total of 65 houses in Tashiding gewog in Dagana are empty, a 21 percent increase over the previous decade.

Of the 358 households in Tashiding Gewog 65 are empty households. Tashiding Mangmi, Rajman Blon said, “Behind the increase in empty houses is the graying of the village population and the population flight to the urban areas especially Thimphu and Phuentsholing. When aging rural population dies, their houses end up unoccupied because their children, who often live and work in cities, have no interest in moving back”.

He added that more than 50 acres of land have been left fallow, which turn to forests and provides cover for wild animals to attack their crops.

We are facing serious threat from wild animals,” said Ganesh, a farmer from Tashiding gewog. “Invasion by wild boar is the most common. Wild boars can destroy crops on vast areas in no time.”

Ganesh said villagers spend sleepless nights guarding their crops using various tactics but to no avail. “We were provided electric fencing but it stopped working. We have also been provided one more power tiller but we could not avail the service because the charges Nu1400 which is too expensive for farmers like us,” he said.

Gozhi Mangmi Shanta Bahadur Subha said the gewog is blessed with fertile soil and suitable climate for food and cash crop cultivation yet few houses were empty.  “Acute shortage of irrigation water had forced farmers to leave their land fallow,” he said.

The issue was raised during agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji’s visit on 13 January. Lyonpo said the government has come up with an irrigation water project and there are also several irrigation schemes which would solve the water problem by 60 per cent.

“It is difficult for my family to make a living from farm works. So I decided to own a cattle and raise poultry to become self reliant,” Wangmo, a farmer fromm Gozhi, said.

Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, said that water scarcity is the most common issue in Dagana because of which many wetlands are kept fallow. Pliability of farm roads, difficulty in marketing of RNR products and human wildlife conflicts were some of the other problems experienced by people.

Lyonpo said the ministry will work in close collaboration with dzongkhag Administration in resolving these issues.

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