Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Usually around this time, members of Geza Duejung tshogpa, one of the farmers’ groups in Saling gewog are busy in early maize cultivation. But they are into a different business venture this time. 

A 19-member group from Jangdung village has planted chillies on three-acre paddy fields. 

The group started raising nursery in October and transplanted on December 16.

One of the members, Dawa Yezer said that the winter chilli was being cultivated on trial to cater to the chilli demand. 

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

The group has also carried out protected cultivation of tomatoes in a greenhouse.

Tsenzabi-Masangdaza chiwog tshogpa, Sonam Dema, who is also a member of the group, said the group would encourage farmers from neighbouring villages to grow chilli. 

To address the chilli shortage and cater to the rising demand for chilli, Mongar dzongkhag has identified three such sites in the gewogs through the economic contingency plan. 

Dzongkhag agriculture officer, Kunzang Tshering said winter chillies are also cultivated in two acres in Yangbari in Gongdue gewog, one and a half acres in Yayung, Dramitse and around 10 acres in Tsakaling gewog.

He said that winter chilli cultivation was delayed this time because the three identified areas in the low alleviation were paddy fields. Paddy harvest ended only in the first week of December.

He said that dzongkhag would initiate early plantation from the next season. “We’re looking for dry land in the low alleviation for next winter chilli plantation so that the farmers could transplant latest by the third week of September and harvest in January,” he said. 

He said Mongar produces chillies almost round the year but the only shortage is between January to March. The dzongkhag aims to fill that gap. 

The dzongkhag and Agriculture Research Development Center, Wengkhar provide technical and material support to the farmers’ groups.