Wild animals add to Uttarakhand hill farmers’ woes | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Wild animals add to Uttarakhand hill farmers’ woes

Farmers in Champawat district’s hill areas are gradually quitting agriculture due to increasing incident of crop destruction by wild animals

dehradun Updated: Dec 24, 2017 19:19 IST
B D Kasniyal
Number of farmers in Champawat district has tumbled down from 34,338 at the time of the state’s formation in 2000 to 31,791 in 2017.
Number of farmers in Champawat district has tumbled down from 34,338 at the time of the state’s formation in 2000 to 31,791 in 2017.(HT File Photo)

Farmers in Champawat district’s hill areas are gradually quitting agriculture due to increasing incident of crop destruction by wild animals.

Number of farmers in Champawat has tumbled down from 34,338 at the time of the state’s formation in 2000 to 31,791 in 2017 -- a decline of 7%, the district agricultural office said.

Similarly, production of wheat has decreased by almost 40%, it said.

“A key reason behind farmers leaving traditional occupation of agriculture in the district is the menace of wild animals which has gone out of control... the animals eat up the hard work of the farmers,” S Kumar, district agriculture officer, told HT.

The wild animal menace has added to woes hill farmers are already facing due to small size of land holdings.

While number of farmers has decreased, number of farm labourers in the district has increased from 520 in 2000 to 1,980 at present.

This means that farmers are preferring to work as labourers in others’ fields instead of cultivating their own crop.

Villagers said they were “least interested in continuing with the occupation” as wild animals were destroying their hard work.

“Whatever little we sow, wild animals, specially wild boars, monkeys or porcupines, destroy it. The government is hardly interested in freeing the villages from this menace,” Chandrakant Pandey, a resident of Khetigara village, told HT.

“We have no option other than leaving the village to find other avenues of livelihood in cities,” Pandey said, adding that lack of basic facilities like roads and healthcare were also forcing people to migrate from hill to plain areas of the district.

Asked, Champawat divisional forest officer A K Gupta said: “We have started trapping monkeys from rural areas and leaving them in jungles.”