Chimi Dema | Tsirang

Barely a week after the first winter chilli harvest, Dhan Bdr. Rai’s field in Karmaling in Dagana has been invaded by an unknown disease.

This, farmers said, had never happened before.

Dhan Bdr. Rai harvested about 700kg chilli from his 50-decimal land and made Nu 60,000.

Purni Maya Gurung, a farmer in Karmaling chiwog, said that the disease was killing both old and new plants. “This has been happening for a month now.”

She harvested about 25kg chilli in the first week of this month.

Karmaling Tshogpa Dawa Namgay Sherpa said that with the crop affected, production had decreased.

Omchhu chiwog said that the chiwog supplied about 200kg chilli to Thimphu earlier this month.

The gewog extension official said: “While the disease is yet to be identified, we are assuming it as seed-borne disease.”

Seed-borne diseases are transmitted by seed and caused by various biological agents like fungi, bacteria and viruses. The disease is known to affect seed storability, physical appearance, viability and germinations.

The official said that the yellowing of plants is a common phenomenon every winter. “But in the past it wasn’t as severe as this year.”

Dzongkhag assistant agriculture officer, Kinley Namgay, said that such incidences were common in winter and there would be no drop in the overall production.

“The production is better this time. A gewog which produced about 200 kg chilli last year from a single harvest can produce at least 1,000kg this year,” he said.