Farmers in Wogmana chiwog of Bumdeling gewog, Trashiyangtse, who depend on chilli as their main cash crop, are unhappy with the bad yield this year.

The residents of about 385 households in the gewog cultivate the famous ‘Aurka Bangala’ chillies in more than an acre of land each.

A resident, Bumpa Wangmo, said chilli plants died as they started flowering and bearing fruits.

She said she earned about Nu 70,000 from selling chilli last year. “But this year, I could not earn even Nu 20,000.”

A villager, Lemo, said that she earned Nu 50,000 from chillies last two years.

The mother of six said she used the money to meet the expenses of her school going children. ‘‘I am worried how I will meet their expenditure now.”

Another resident said it has been about nine years since the chillies were infested with a disease in the locality. “We do not know what the problem is.”

Bumdeling Gup, Mani Wangdra, said the gewog reported the matter to agriculture officers and ministry.

He also said that the chillies could be dying because of heavy rainfall.

The gewog agriculture officer, Ugyen Tenzin, said the gewog chilli production has decreased because of the disease. “We provided pesticides and instructed people to cultivate chilli in a different area.”

The other problem the villagers face is difficulty to sell their products.

A villager, Chimi Dema, said she has to sell the chillies for Nu 35 to 45 a kg.

Meanwhile, residents of nearby villagers also say the chilli disease are also affected them.

Dorji Dema from Bemkhar said people in her village are covering the chillies with plastic, as it is also dying. “Our main source of income is chilli and it’s dying.”

Neten Dorji | Tashiyangtse