Farmers of Sergithang Gewog in Tsirang grow chilli on large scale to boost incomes

Farmers of Sergithang Gewog in Tsirang are now opting to grow spring chilli that hits the market early on a larger scale. The farmers who otherwise grow vegetables have, this year, cultivated the spice on some 140 acres of land. This, according to the farmers, is to offset the decline in income from vegetable sales.

The terraces in Tashithang Chiwog are mostly covered in mulching plastics. Most farmers have completed transplanting chilli saplings now and are seen watering the saplings.

Farmers are expecting to harvest the chilli from March.

In 2020, only a few farmers grew spring chilli on trial and the spice fetched good prices. Today, around 95 households are into growing the spice on a commercial scale.

“Compared to the past years, this year more farmers are growing chilli. I cultivated the spice on around 40 decimal of land last year but this year, I did it on about 60-70 decimal,” said Ganga Sanyasi, a farmer.

“During the initial harvest, we get Nu 300-400 per kilogram of chilli. But the price gradually drops down but still, we get Nu 100 per kilogram,” said Harka Bdr. Subba,a farmer.

Most farmers in the gewog used to grow vegetables on mass and made income through the sale of vegetables. However, post-pandemic, the farmers say, they are confronted by marketing issues and the income from vegetables has dropped.

They are hoping the mass chilli production would cushion the financial impact caused by the decline in income from selling vegetables.

Krishna Prasad, a farmer said, “In the past, we used to grow cabbage, cauliflower, and other vegetables on a large scale. But we had a problem finding markets for our vegetables. Moreover, vegetables haven’t fetched us good prices. It has been three years now after we started growing spring  chilli.”

“We just get Nu 30 from cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other vegetables. Vegetable dealers refuse to pay us beyond that price. So we now grow vegetables only for self-consumption,” added another farmer, Chandra Maya Subba.

According to the Gewog Agriculture Extension Supervisor, in the last few years, the production of vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes has been reduced by double. However, the Agriculture Extension Supervisor says they are still encouraging the farmers to continue growing vegetables on a large scale.

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