Agriculture: More farmers in Tsakaling Gewog in Mongar are taking up chili cultivation over other cash crops.

Nearly 50 households in the gewog are cultivating chili in about 20 acres.

Gewog agriculture extention officer Sonam Dolkar said farmers were encouraged as many fetched good price last year.

“Farmers earned between Nu 60,000 and Nu 0.15 million last year, therefore, for the first time farmers are using wet land this season to grow chili,” Sonam Dolkar said.

In the past two years, farmers earned good income out of selling chilli in Mongar, Bumthang and Lhuentse dzongkhags.

The farmers use the money for school-going children and helped in paying loans.

Namgay Dolma usually grew maize on her two langdo of wet land in winter. Since last year she cultivated chilli cultivated owner Namgay Dolma said chilli production as she could earn more from chillies than maize.

A 38-year-old Yangdenmo from Tormashong village said that she earned Nu 0.15 from chilli production last year, on less than an acre. She continues to grow chilli.

Pema, 35, and his wife Leki Wangmo earned about Nu 0.15 from selling chilli in Mongar and Lhuentse.

He said that growing chilli that started four year ago has picked up in the gewog now.

The gewog agriculture extention official trained the farmers on growing chilli. The gewog power tiller also eased work and encouraged more people to cultivate.

Namgay Dolma said around this time of the year people have no other farm work.

Another farmer, Leki Wangmo, said now the problem is not being able to sell all that is produced.

“We lose some as the produce decay in transportation,” she said.

The farmers are looking forward to better harvest this year. The new electric fencing is almost complete.

“We’ve lost much chilli to wild animals but the fence could help us a lot,” Leki Wangmo said.

Of the 340 households in the gewog, most of the chilli cultivation occurs in lower altitude and higher areas in winter .

The main cash crop of the Tsakaling villagers remain citrus and mango. People also grow vegetables.

Tashi Phuntsho | Tsakaling