Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Ginger growers and traders in Chukha and Samtse are worried if they will get to sell their harvested produce, ginger, this year.

It has been more than a month since the export stopped. If nothing is done, farmers said their produce will soon rot. In some cases it has already started rotting.

For many, ginger is the primary source of income.

A ginger grower in Dzedokha village in Lokchina gewog, Chukha, Suk Bahadur Rai said there are plenty of ginger with the villagers.

“But they are rotting now,” he said. “We are in an uncomfortable situation.”

As ginger is the only cash crop, Suk Bahadur said that many people haven’t seen hard cash in the villages without trade. People are facing problems in buying rations, he added.

“I think the government can help. If we are able to sell the produce, people will be able to buy rations,” he said.

Dzedokha tshogpa Phib Raj Rai said people have no idea how to market and where to sell the produce.

“People are in trouble,” he said.

“We have been in touch with the gup. But he said we cannot take it.”

Phuentsholing gup Birkha Bahadur also said that about 40 percent of ginger in the villages have rotted.

“We are receiving a lot of calls every day from people,” he said.

“This situation is due to the lockdown and some problems across the border.”

When Kuensel reported on the issue on July 10, Phuentsholing’s FCBL auction yard had about 10 metric tonnes (MT) of ginger. In Samtse, FCBL had 16MT. There are many more in the villages.

In Samtse, starting from Tading gewog to Tashichholing, ginger growers and suppliers are giving up hope now.

A supplier and grower, Rakesh said shoots have started to grow from the ginger that was harvested.

“So much has rotted,” he said.

“However, we haven’t heard anything on the export news.”

Rakesh said he alone had about eight to nine MT of ginger. He also had bought about 15MT of ginger from farmers, which are yet to be sold or exported.

Another supplier from Tashichholing said there was no support from the government.

“Our government must speak with the Government of India to solve this problem at the earliest possible.”

Ginger export has been stopped because it doesn’t come under India’s import list and the officials in Jaigaon and Chamarchi do not allow the import.

In October last year, potato export was stopped. However, it was solved and along with potato, betel nut, mandarin, apple and ginger were also sanctioned for export from Bhutan to India. But it was a temporary sanction.

After the sanction time limit expired this year, the problem started again.

Edited by Tshering Palden