Phub Dem | Paro

With a limited supply from Punakha, chillies from Paro are selling like hotcakes these days.

Besides, the price of chillies increased by four-fold compared to last year with Nu 200 a kilogramme (Kg).

Gyem from Paro Jangsa had already sold 15 sacks of chillies weighing 20kg each from home at Nu 3,000 per sack this month.

Usually, Gyem harvests chillies towards mid-august and has to take it to Sunday market.

This year, however, numerous vendors had visited Gyem’s garden, and some buyers left failing to get their share of the chillies.

Gyem said that unlike last year, the production was significant this year due to consistent rainfall and price doubled.

“I asked some vendors to wait for a week, as the chillies are not ready for harvest.”

She said that chillies from Paro hit the market typically when those from Punakha flourishes, reasoning the dip in the price.

“If we can sell a sack of chillies at Nu 2,000, it is a fair price.”

Last year, Gyem sold a Kg for Nu 80 when it first hit the market. And at the end of the season, the price dropped to Nu 20.

She is hopeful this year.

Within a month, she earned Nu 45,000. Her annual income from chilli was Nu 60,000 last year.

Another farmer, Tenzin Wangmo, said that it was a bountiful year for the chilli growers in Paro.

A vendor who usually buys chillies from Punakha said that chilli supply from Punakha stopped suddenly, as many farmers lost their chillies to pest. “Otherwise, it is a peak season for chillies and the price decreases drastically as soon as chilli from Paro hits the market.”

She added that a sack of chilli cost about Nu 4,000 in Thimphu. “Without market competition, chillies are expensive.”

Meanwhile, vegetable shoppers like Tshering Dema who cannot miss chilli in her dish buy a Kg without complaint.

She said that it was affordable compared to a soaring price of Nu 600 when it first hit the market.