Farmers’ same old problem

Farmers bearing the brunt of wild animal depredation is not something new. It has almost become a routine as huge areas of cultivated crops are lost to wild animals annually.

From maize fields in Pemagatshel being rummaged by wild boars to wild elephants in Samtse increasingly poking around paddy cultivation, almost all farmers are living on the mercy of wild animals.Wildlife (wild pig) spotted returning to forest after destroying maize field_0

And recently, it’s the farmers in Paro and Punakha who are battling it out to save their crops from wild animals, especially wild boars. Spending sleepless nights and guarding their fields to at least have something to thrive on after having had toiled in the farms from dawn till dusk for almost a year have become a routine as well.  

There is no denying the fact that human-wildlife conflict has become a contentious issue for quite some years now.

Even the previous government had pledged to find a solution to this problem, and the issue was also raised by the council members during the question hour session with the present agriculture and forests minister on Friday. But farmers still continue to live in havoc wreaked by these wild animals.

It’s time that the government must come up with solution for the poor, frustrated farmers who have been waiting for too long a time. It’s not a new problem anymore. The problem has been there for a while, but perhaps what is missing is the genuine desire to put an end to this predicament.

We continued to be grappling with the problem of rural-urban migration which has also been continuing unabatedly, but before finding solution to avert this drift it would be sensible to find solution on how to save foods for the farmers. It’s only when farmers can no longer earn their own livelihood, they are susceptible to migration, thus leaving increasing chunks of farmlands fallow.

Some rural people have even abandoned their ancestral land because of wild animal depredation. It’s becoming rampant every year and coercing farmers to abandon farming in totality. What good would it be then if this happens? Our urban towns are not a better place either as signs of urban poverty are already surfacing up. We should be aware that we are up for some serious problem if the problem continues as it is.

Moreover, what use would it be then even if we exert rural prosperity as the thrust of the Five Year Plan and boast of making rural lives more enticing if our rural folks are not there back in the village? Before embarking on the odyssey of rural prosperity or transforming rural areas or even achieve self-sufficiency or reduce poverty for that matter, what we need to understand is that our farmers need food security. Help them have that and the rest would follow accordingly.

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