Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar    

With chilli growing scarce in Samdrupjongkhar thromde, residents say they are making do with less spicy meals. Vendors at the vegetable market are running out of fresh chillies.

Residents said it became difficult to fetch green chillies since mid of December last year as vendors could not get it from anywhere.

A resident, Sangay Dorji, said he has been to the vegetable market looking for green chillies since last week, but could not get it. Like many residents in the town, his family is consuming dry red chillies.

“My neighbours also keep asking me to buy some for them if I find any. We are used to consuming spicy fresh green chillies, and we miss it,” Sangay Dorji said.

Ugyen Zangmo, 41, said there shouldn’t be a shortage of green chillies because the agriculture department had carried out mass winter chilli cultivation in the gewogs.

A vegetable vendor, Karma Yangzom, said it had been more than a month since they were running out of green chillies. “I have ordered green chillies from Samdrupcholing because everyone prefers green chillies than dry chillies.”

Another vendor, Tshewang Dema, said farmers bring green chillies but do not reach Samdrupjongkhar town as they sell at Dewathang town, adding that she contacted her dealers in the gewogs, but they also don’t have much.

“Green chillies are one of the most sold products in the market, and when we are out of stock, our business is also affected,” she said.

Assistant dzongkhag agriculture officer (ADAO), Chorten Tshering, said there is a shortage of green chillies in the market because they are less productive as the idle temperature for the production is above 25-degree Celsius. “And the temperature in the dzongkhag today is at an average of 15-degree Celsius.”

He said the vegetable farmer groups sold more than 3,000 metric tonnes (MT) of green chillies between October and mid-December last year. Green chillies are available in the two drungkhags of Samdrupjongkhar. “However, green chillies would be available in the market by the first week of February.”

Meanwhile, about 961 households take up the winter chilli cultivation on 134.83 acres which expected to produce 126.532MT.

Of the 134.83 acres, farmers have cultivated winter chill in more than 50 acres while some are still under cultivation because chilli season continues until May.