Younten Tshedup

The ban on import of fresh vegetables – green chillies, beans and cauliflower from India four years ago, has been a blessing in disguise for many Bhutanese farmers. 

In absence of imported vegetables, demand for local produce grew, which encouraged many farmers to take up vegetable farming. 

In Tsirang, the winter vegetable farming, an already prevailing practice in the dzongkhag flourished with demand for vegetables multiplying every winter. 

According to the officials from the dzongkhag agriculture sector, compared to the previous season, this winter the production has increased. 

One of the officials said that the dzongkhag’s annual performance agreement (APA) had targeted to produce about 3,000 metric tonnes (MT) of winter vegetables this season. “We have already produced more than 3,000MT of vegetables so far. A few more hundred metric tonnes would be added in the following months.”    

The sector expects to produce around 3,500MT of vegetables this winter. 

Majority of the harvest this year has been the banned vegetables such as beans, cabbage and cauliflower. Chilli production on the other hand has slightly decreased compared to last season, said the official. 

The nursery for winter vegetable farming usually starts in August and production begins from early January until June.