Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse
With chilli plants dying in Trashiyangtse, farmers, who earn good cash income from the crop, are worried.
Choden in Bayphushhot is busy uprooting diseased chilli plants from her garden. She looks nervous and weary.
Like her, many farmers in Rulay and Mindung are also worried. They say the chilli plants rot from the roots as they grow. Some say a disease attacked the stem and roots, which resulted in wilting of the plants.
“I don’t know why plants are dying but I’m uprooting the infected plants,” Choden said.
She is worried that she might not be able to harvest and earn income like in the past years. “I doubt if I can earn Nu 10,000 this time.”
Another farmer, Yeshi, said she even sprayed pesticide, but it didn’t work.
“I’d be grateful if the government could look into the matter and find a permanent solution.”
Farmers say the chilli plants got infected four years ago.
Mona, 72, said it was time for the plants to bear fruits. “But they’re wilting and dying.”
Farmers in the locality say chilli brought them good income to educate their children and improve their living standards.
They say more farmers grew chilli as the government encouraged them to do so. The early chilli production gained popularity in the community.
More than 66 households from Phuyang and Yalang grew chilli.
On 18.5 acres of land in Phuyangshhot, about 68 households cultivated the early chilli this time. Chilli growers increased to 23 from eight households in Rulay and Mindung.
Farmers, however, said they would soon grow it only for their self-consumption if the plants kept dying. “It would just be a waste of time and energy,” a farmer said.
Yalang gewog agriculture extension officer, Ugyen Geleg, said waterlog in the area and lack of management practices cause the chilli to die.
“We distributed fungicides to control the diseases and advised not to step in infected fields. The only solution is to manage the plant and field well,” he said.
The agriculture extension officer reported the matter to the dzongkhag agriculture sector and they are monitoring it weekly. “To control the diseases, farmers were told to burn the infected plants and manage the chilli plants by spraying fungicides,” said Ugyen Geleg.
Meanwhile, the first green chillies to hit the market come from these places and farmers earn between Nu 100,000 to 150,000. Some even earned Nu 300,000 annually.