Agriculture: Chilli is one of the main cash crop for the people of Nubi gewog in Trongsa.

In Drenzhing village today, farmers are applying manure on their fields, carrying basketfuls of cattle dung.

The tender plants are growing well, showing good promise for the farmers. Already some plants have small chillies.

Sonam Zangmo, a farmer, said people in Nubi grow other vegetables but chilli is the main. “We take vegetables to Trongsa. We make good income from chilli.” Sonam makes about Nu 10,000 every year by selling chilli.

“We don’t use chemical fertiliser like people do in other parts of the country,” Sonam. “Ours is real organic.”

Ugyen Tshering from Drenzhing said that he began growing chilli last year and that the yield had been good. He has planted chillies in about eight beds this year.

But there is a problem. Another farmer, Ugyen, said it been about four years since the crop began rotting before harvest. “This happens before the chilli turns red.”

Phuntsho, a farmer from Pchela, has planted the crop on about half a langdo of land. He brought seeds from Wangdue and Thimphu. He said people could earn more if they could stay back in Trongsa and sell directly to the customers. Most of them have to return home to guard their paddy fields.

And with the rain, drying chilli is a problem. “We dry them on our roofs and CGI sheets, but rain destroys them most of the time,” Phunstho said.

Farmers here sow seeds in the second month of the Bhutanese calendar and transplant in the fifth month. The crop is harvested in the eighth and ninth months.

Phuntsho said that he reported the case of rotting chilli to agriculture officials. There is no treatment, he was told. “They’ve recommended farmers to uproot the infected plants.”

Sanga Lhamo from Bemji said wild boars have already begun destroying her chilli plants. “They dig into the fields and destroy the crops.”

Nima Wangdi | Trongsa