CFM vendors fight for chillies

Choki Wangmo 

A vegetable supplier from Dagana, Pema, came to Thimphu yesterday to deliver vegetables to his regular customer, a vendor at the Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM).

With 843 kilograms (kgs) of chillies in his supply this time, 17 other vendors at CFM demanded equal distribution of chillies and the agriculture minister had to intervene.

Since Pema was not allowed to come out of his delivery van, another dealer at CFM weighed and distributed his chillies.

He is unhappy that he incurred a huge loss. “When I usually sell to one vendor, he adjusts the few kgs that weigh less here.”

Pema said he asked the 17 vendors to buy other vegetables from him but they only wanted chillies and profit from it. “About four to five metric tonnes of vegetables are rotting in the fields in Dagana as there are no buyers.”

He said that he collects chillies from farmers at a farmgate price at Nu 300 a kg and takes about Nu 50 as a profit but the wholesalers and retailers at CFM robs consumers by charging more money.

“I collect chillies from remote parts of Dagana like Karmaling, where the roads are risky and then we have to spend a night at Sunkosh,” he said. “It takes two days to transport  vegetables to Thimphu.”

In the previous two trips, Pema directly sold the vegetables in the identified zones but was told to bring it at the CFM, from where the vegetables would then be supplied to the zones. “I am the one running into loss because of the change in venue.”

Sanam Lyonpo (Agriculture Minister) Yeshey Penjor said that the government’s concern was reaching the chillies in all the zones in Thimphu where people faced a shortage of chillies.

“He wanted to distribute in the zones but I requested him to distribute equally among the CFM vendors so that we have access in all the zones,” he said.

 

Name of the supplier in the story was changed upon his request

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