Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

A farmers’ group of Jangdung village in Saling gewog made the first harvest of their winter chilli last Sunday and sold about 20 kilogrammes at Gyalpozhing vegetable market.

Farmers said it fetched Nu 500 a kilogramme. They would make another harvest this week.

However, farmers are worried that production might decline because of pest infection.

Sonam Dema, a tshogpa of Tsenzabi-Masangdaza chiwog, who is also a member of the group, said a green worm, which is a common pest for green chilli, has infected the chillies.

Nineteen members of Geza Duejung tshogpa, one of the farmers’ groups in Saling gewog planted chillies on three-acre paddy fields on trial.

The group started raising nursery in October and transplanted in December last year.

Jangdung winter chilli plantation programme is one of the activities carried out in three sites Mongar dzongkhag has identified in the gewogs through the economic contingency plan (ECP) to address the chilli shortage and cater to the rising demand for chilli in the dzongkhag.

The group is planning to cultivate 25 acres of paddy fields that belong to Mongar dratshang if the trial becomes a success.

Similarly, chillies and other vegetables from Litishong under Tsakaling gewog, another site identified for winter chilli programme hit Mongar, Gyalpoizhing and Autsho vegetable market, Lhuentse dzongkhag last week.

Farmers have harvested more than 100 kilogrammes of chillies and sold at a similar price so far.

The group also harvested some other vegetables like pumpkin, coriander, green vegetables, eggplant and tomatoes, which were offered as donation to Tormashong Zangdopelri in Tsakaling gewog and Namdroling Dratshang, Autsho in Lhuentse Dzongkhag.

The crops were harvested from 10 acres of fallow land in Litishong reverted by agriculture sector with fund support from ECP.

The programme was first of its kind in the locality initiated with support from the agriculture sector and technical backstopping by agriculture research and development sub-centre in Lingmethang and gewog extension office.

Meanwhile, Chali gewog, one of the gewogs known for large scale farm products almost round the year, sold 1.405 metric tonnes of beans and 1.25 metric tonnes of potatoes in Thimphu this month.