While farmers in other parts of the country are harvesting paddy, those in Dogar village of Dophuchen (Dorokha), Samtse are engaged in their cardamom fields.
Nozay Dukpa, 56 and her husband Jab Tshering, 73 are busy harvesting cardomon and election is not a priority for the couple.
The couple has cultivated cardamom on 45 decimals of land and harvested about 45kgs last year. However, they said the harvest would not be as good this time.
“Just three plants would fill a bag last year but not this time,” Nozay said.
But there is still hope for cardamom in Dogar. Unlike in other places of Dophuchen, where cardamom plants are yellowing and failing to give expected harvest due to diseases, Dogar village remains a surprise. Although the harvest has dropped, the plants have regrown healthy.
A resident Phurba, 71, is not happy with the cardamom price today.
“Good news is that new plants have started to regrow from those plants that have died due to age,” he said. “And the plants do not have disease.”
It has been 15 years, since he started growing cardamom. Phurba is expecting to harvest 40kgs this year from his acre of cardamom field.
Tall and healthy cardamom plants are a common sight in Dogar. People here do not grow vegetables. In some houses, cardamom plants are just at the doorsteps.
Nalem, 30, cultivated cardamom five years ago. Last year, she harvested 20kg and said that the harvest this year may not be as good. “However, the plants are growing well.”
Another Dogar resident, Dorji Phuntsho said cardamom plants in their place is faring well because of suitable weather conditions.
“The spice does not grow well in areas below Dogar Lhakhang,” he said.
Dorji Phuntsho and his brother harvested 80kgs of cardamom in 2017. The brothers have not harvested yet this year.
As it is election time, Dogar villagers also stressed on the importance of cardamom market, which they expect the new government to resolve.
Parop Lengo, 54, said the government and Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited should stabilise the market.
“Today, we are at the mercy of traders from across the border,” he said. “Traders call us and offer good prices but they pay us less when we sell it to them.”
On politics and the current mood of general election, Parop Lengo said he would decide only when he goes to the polling station on October 18, “What we need is service, what they need are votes.”
Meanwhile, lost under the thick forest of cardamom plants, Nozay Dukpa is least bothered about the election. For her cardamom is important. “We are a humble family,” she said. “We have five children, all jobless class X graduates.”
Rajesh Rai | Dorokha