Nim Dorji | Trongsa

The people of Bembji in Trongsa are busy drying thingye (Sichuan pepper).

The pepper is usually harvested in the sixth month of the Bhutanese calendar. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the people there have not seen buyers.

Sonam Choden, a farmer, said the people did not have to go look for buyers. “It’s a different story this year.”

She has piled up sacks full of pepper in a corner of her house.

Every year, each household in Bembji makes at least Nu 10,000 by selling the pepper, which is one of the principal sources of income for many.

Each household has more than five bags of pepper.

“Without no buyer coming, I am worried,” said Sonam.

The pepper is sold at Nu 600 per kilogram.

The villagers say that they harvest the pepper from young trees; older the tree, the lesser the yield.