The ban on the import of green chilies from India has come as a blessing for the villagers of Trashiyangtse. The ban has not only boosted the production and sale of local chilies but also the price.
At this time of the year, the vegetable market in Doksum is flooded with green and red Yangtse chilli. Yangtse chilli is known for being larger than other chilies.
Curently, Yangtse chilli is being sold like hot cakes not only in Trashiyangtse but all around the country. The chilli is considered special as it is not grown in other parts of the country. People from nearby dzongkhags come here to buy and send them to their friends and relatives in other dzongkhags. Some people buy, dry and save them for the winter.
However, the price for the chilli has dropped to Nu 200 per kg in Doksum from around Nu 350 to Nu 400 earlier.
A farmer from Yalang said that the price of local green chillies from Trashiyangtse is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF).
“Initially, we used to charge prices on our own when the local chillies hit the market for the first time,” she said.
Trashiyangtse chillies were sold at Nu 800 per Kg in Thimphu when the local chillies hit the market for the first time this month.
Now, the local green chillies are sold at a subsidized rate of Nu 300 per kg in Thimphu and other parts of the country.
But the farmers said that even if the rate is subsidized they are sure they would still continue to make good income from the chilli.
Zangmo, 45 from Yalang gewog said that since the ban on the import of chilies from India, it has encouraged the farmers to produce more.
She said that she has planted more chilli than other villagers this year, utilizing empty spaces and the harvest is also good this season. “Because of the ban on the import of chilli, there is no problem for the market of local chilies.”
Additionally, she said that the ban has motivated farmers like her to work harder.
Another farmer, Karma Lhamo said, “Chillies are still growing and I should be able to earn double the amount I did last year.”
She said that she earned almost Nu 70,000 from chillies last year. “It is difficult to dry Yangtse chili as it is fleshy but it fetches a handsome amount.”
Every year farmers in Trashiyangtse earn a minimum of Nu 50,000 through the chilli business.
Although confronted with several issues like human-wildlife conflict, shortage of labor and lack of proper market to sell their produce, farmers are earning a good amount from the chilli business.
Pic courtesy: This happens only in Bhutan
Jigme Wangchen from T/yangtse