Over 70 tonnes of Tsirang’s green chillies to hit the market in mid-March

What began as a trial project to plant Bhutanese chillies in Tsirang in 2019 has now been proven a success. Almost 100 households of Sergithang-Maed, Tashithang, and Semdenjong Chiwogs of Sergithang Gewog have planted early Bhutanese chillies, popularly known as ‘Sha Gi Ema’.

The success of the project has brought smiles on the faces of farmers in Sergithang Gewog. Tsirang boasts of being the first early green chilli producer in the country and the district is expecting a record quantity this year by mid of next month.

Lungki, a farmer from Tashithang Chiwog says she is expecting Nu 100,000 from selling chillies this season. Last year, she earned Nu 70,000.

This year the plantation spans to over 70 acres of land, 20 acres more than the previous years. A bountiful harvest is expected this year. Easy market and better prices encouraged farmers to grow the spice.

Rudra Lal Sanyasi from Tashithang Chiwog says green chillies always fetch better prices since the production from Tsirang hit the market early compared to other districts. “That is why prices have shot threefold.”

Prices in the previous years have been beyond the expectations of the farmers. Each farmer is dedicating at least 50 decimal land to cultivate chilli.

Agriculture officials are asking the farmers to sell the early Bhutanese chillies at an affordable price ranging between 300 to 350 ngultrum a kilogramme. However, with large scale cultivation in Sergithang Gewog, farmers are worried prices may fall.

Rinchen Phuentsho, a farmer in Tashithang said,  “we heard there are plenty of imported green chillies in the market. We are worried with the news since our green chillies are almost ready for market.”

However, the Tsirang district agriculture sector is willing to step in if farmers face any marketing issues.

Dorji Gyeltshen, the district’s senior agriculture officer says they will seek intervention from the ministry and the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives if farmers face marketing challenges.

The Gewog agriculture extension office facilitated farmers in buying chilli seeds from Paro.

The early Bhutanese chilli production from the Gewog will last till June.

Pema Tshewang, Tsirang

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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