… farmers planning to grow more this winter

Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

The vegetable farmers’ group in Jangdung village in Mongar, that is picking the last remains of the chilli planted months ago, had a bountiful chilli season.

The group expects about 300kg of chilli from its last harvest.

The group is uprooting the stalks to empty the field and ready for paddy cultivation.

The 19-member-group, Geza Duejung Tshogpa harvested, 3,263kg of hybrid green chilli (SHP-2884). Of that, members reaped and divided 234kg for self-consumption.

The group earned more than Nu 600,000 so far.

According to agriculture officials, the production for such hybrid chilli lasts until September for one season and can bear fruit for up to three years if the plants are preserved. However, the production rate declines with age.

The group planted chillies on two and half-acre paddy fields using mulching on trial last winter. They raised the nursery in October, transplanted it in December last year and collected the first harvest in April this year.

Tsenzabi-Masangdaza tshogpa Sonam Dema, who is also a member of the group, said the members are happy with the success and that the group was planning to double the area under cultivation this winter.

“It’s labour intensive and needs much care but we’re happy that our hard work is rewarded,” she said.

Jangdung winter chilli plantation programme is one of the activities carried out through the economic contingency plan (ECP). It was expected to cater to the rising demand for chilli in the dzongkhag mainly in winter.

Similarly, winter chilli was grown by a Tsakaling farmers’ group at Litishong which also harvested about five metric tonnes from the 10-acre field.

The 15-member-group decided to plant chilli on fallow dry and wetland using a mix of conventional and mulching techniques.

The group sold about 2,500kg earning more than Nu 700,000 while the rest was consumed or donated.

The programme was initiated with technical support from the gewog agriculture extension.

Gewog agriculture extension supervisor Sonam Delkar said it was an ad hoc programme and the group plans to expand this winter making it a technically well-established system with a proper irrigation system and fencing.

“A trenching of a kilometre pipeline with the gewog support of Nu 0.147 million was completed recently, and we’re planning to include fencing and reservoir construction this financial year,” she said.

Vegetables from these villages were mostly sold in Mongar, Gyalpoizhing, and Lingmethang vegetable markets. The surplus was sent to Trashigang and Lhuentse. Early harvested chilli fetched them Nu 500 a kg and the price has dropped to Nu 100 these days.

Edited by Tshering Palden