Lack of rainfall and water sources drying up affect paddy cultivation

Member of Parliament (MP) Radhi-Sakteng, Jigme Wangchuk, addressed the worries of the farmers in the National Assembly. He said that most of the farmers are unable to plant paddy on time as there is an acute shortage of water due to no rainfall.

MP Jigme Wangchuk enquired about what the government is doing for the farmers affected by the lack of timely rainfall around the country.

Responding on behalf of Minister of Agriculture, the Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk the government is concerned about the lack of rainfall affecting the farmers, especially during the time of cultivation.

He said that various measures have been put in place, including providing water pumps and raising seedlings, to cope up with late transplantation of paddy. He added that waster is being pumped from nearby rivers as an alternative measures, to help farmers get enough water for irrigation.

He also informed the House of 188 farmers who were earlier affected due to shortage of irrigation facilities, but with the intervention, the farmers have now cultivated paddy in dry lands.

Lyonpo said that about 20 households in Trongsa were able to replenish their lost paddy after the ministry distributed IR 64 and Red Kharmar saplings.

In gewogs where there is no water at all, the ministry has provided water storage facilities.

“In most of the gewogs, the irrigation is completed with the help of water pump facilitated by the government,” Lyonpo said.

Furthermore, MP Nganglam, Choida Jamtsho, said that the delay in construction of Tekaling irrigation channel and a 7km farm road have equally contributed in the delay of cultivation.

He added that the government had promised to construct the Tekaling irrigation about two years ago, and so far, nothing is being done about it.

To this, the Education Minister Norbu Wangchuk, on behalf of the Agriculture Minister, explained that the channel, once operational, is expected to benefit 61 households and revive 90 acres of wetland cultivation.

Therefore, considering the huge benefit to farmers to be brought by the Tekaling irrigation channel, government has allocated Nu 9.4 million in the fiscal year 2016-17.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that the people in Pemagatsel have also expressed importance of the Tekaling irrigation channel during the visit of Agriculture minster in Pemagatsel in 2014.  After which, Agriculture Minister sent out officials from the ministry to carry out feasibility study and it was found that the Tekaling irrigation channel has the potential for rehabilitation, and therefore, it was included in the construction of 108 irrigation channel project plan.

Lyonpo also said that many water sources in the country have dried up, and as a result, most places are suffering from inadequate water supply for both for irrigation and drinking.

Lyonpo added that the government has a major project plan to construct two big irrigation channels to help farmers get the required amount of water, especially for irrigation.

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