June 26, 2011

Where have our farms disappeared??

Summer is the time for the students to relax and have fun but it is also time for some students to work on their project. For my daughter, she is to interview a farmer about “the change in farming system” for her geography project. Ever since her exams are over, she has been frantically looking for a farmer to interview for her project but we can hardly see any farms nearby. The nearest farm is more 20 kms away and I have promised her a trip to a neighbouring farm for her group after the LG election.

My daughter and her group are eagerly waiting for the LG election to be over so that they can visit a farm and complete their project but at the same time pestering me about their bad luck for being in the town school where they cannot see the real farms everyday like students in the rural school. Their talks make me wonder, where our farms have disappeared within a short span of time.

As a student, in the 80’s and 90’s, I remember visiting the farms to help farmers during the paddy cultivation and harvesting seasons. We would eagerly wait for the captains and the teachers to group us during the weekends so that we could visit the farms and help the farmers. It was more of an outing than a work because the farmers used to share us their meal for the little help we rendered and most of the time, we were a hindrance rather than help but they always invited us every season and we learned a few lessons as the year progressed. I always had some incidence to share with my parents and siblings on what we did and my father would ask “would you prefer to work on the farms when you grow up?” I would always say; “No way! I would rather work in the office like you than toil on the farm”.

Now more about two decades later, the mad rush for the urbanization had led to the disappearance of many farms and forests around the vicinity of the town. There are hardly any farms nearby. The lessons that the students have to learn on the practical observation are taught through conceptual strategies due to the unavailability of resources which confuses the students further which makes me further wonder whether what we are doing is right or not…


  1. A thoughtful article! Enjoyed reading it la. By the way, I am not sure as to where you reside. May be somewhere in Thimphu or other big towns. It is true in those areas that we can't find farmers or to say they have decreased in number over the years more correctly. I don't know if their disappearance is more of an advantage or the other way round but I can say the farmers in rural areas to suffer a lot barring the source of practical observation and study for students. Like you said, we had plenty of farmers in our school days or rightly to say we didn't even have to do any practical study as we were very much part of such a life. So, do you feel the disappearance of farms is more of a curse or a blessing? Whatever, everything has two sides - good and bad - about it, right? I feel the same here. Wish you and your daughter all the success and a safe trip to the nearby farm after the LG elections. :)

  2. @ Langa..thanks for the valuable comment.. sometimes I can help feeling devastated when I see the disappearance of our green gold (flora and fauna)and the thought of global warming...I may be being paranoid but sometimes the fast pace of modernization and westernization scares me ...
    The disappearance of farms is more of a curse than a boon for me because I am fed up surviving on the imported inorganic farm products from the neighbouring state of Assam and West Bengal...