Farming in times of corona

posted in: Blog, Project News

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

by Dorji Bidha, our partner from Drukgyal Farmers in Paro.

The Corona pandemic and community spread have now also reached Bhutan. The little kingdom is under lock down until further notice. Recently Bhutan Network sponsored a rice husking machine for Dorji Bidha’s community. In her letter to Bhutan Network, Dorji explains the situation and why she requested our support for the machine:

As long as rice and chilies are available, local farmers will thrive!

In the early hours of 11th August, my phone rang several times and to my surprise, it was our Dessup (Peace keeper of Bhutan) coordinator Dasho (high official). Dasho asked me to take my backpack and get ready for deployment. Our country has now entered the orange phase which means we have  Covid-19 community spread and Bhutan will be under lock down for a few weeks or maybe even months.

It was 2 o’clock in the morning and I was ready for duty, fully geared up and happy, yet at the back of my mind I was troubled by thoughts about my old parents and how they would manage without me, “what if they run out of rations?” I thought, “What will I do?

I left to serve my king, country and people. However, I kept feeling tense because of the lock down. By evening my sister called me, saying that they were busy weeding the chili- and paddy fields. She told me, that farmers were allowed to work individually in their respective fields. I was overwhelmed and relieved by the news. Later, my mom and my neighbors told me that they were peeling rice in the new rice husker which was sponsored by Bhutan Network and Aum Pema Seldon.

My community and I can’t express in words how grateful we are for your generosity and help with the purchase of this necessary tool. We can’t imagine our life without rice! We Bhutanese people take three meals a day and every single one of them consists of a large portion of rice in our plates! We used to have to go to other communities to peel rice however, during the lock down, we can’t breach the stay-at-home rules.

Fortunately, Bhutan Network gave us this rice husking machine which came as a blessing in disguise and at the right time. As I have mention above as long as we have ample of chilies and plenty of rice, local farmers will be healthy and happy. We have acres of chilies and tons of rice and with this rice husker in our own community, we feel blessed. My community sends our appreciation and our gratitude to all the people who helped us buy this wonderful agricultural tool for our village.

Thank you so much!!!

A letter from Dordji Bidha on behalf of the farmers of Phongdo Village (Drukgyal Farmers)

With thanks to Rotary Club Zell am See for donating the rice husking machine to Drukgyel Farmers.