Agriculture: At this time of the year, the weekend vegetable market in Trashiyangtse is flooded with red and green Yangtsepa chilli, also known as Urka Bangala or Yangtsepa Ema. Yangtsepa chili is known for being larger than other chilies.
Yangtsepa chili is considered special as it is not grown in other parts of the country. People here buy and send them to their friends and relatives in other dzongkhags. Some people buy, dry and save them for the winter.
In the past, people grew the chili only for self-consumption, but it has now become one of the primary cash crops here.
Urka Bangala and Yangtsepa Ema are in fact two different chilies. Urka Bangala is the real Yangtsepa chili. Yangtsepa Ema is a general term for the chilies grown in the villages of upper Trashiyangtse.
Urka Bangala is larger in size. People generally say that the real Urka Bangala is grown in the villages of Womanang in Bumdeling gewog. Other gewogs and villages grow a different variety of chilies.
Red chillies are sold at Nu 70/kg while green ones are sold at Nu 60-65/kg at the market.
Dema Tshering from Shileng village in Womanang under Bumdeling gewog said she earns about Nu 40,000 by selling the chili every year. “I don’t take them to the weekend market in Yangtse. I sell to those who come here to buy at a lower price.”
Dema Tshering sells red chilies at Nu 65/kg and green ones at Nu 55/kg. She has already earned about Nu 15, 000.
“Chilies are still growing and I should be able to earn almost the same amount I did last year,” said Dema Tshering.
Sonam Choden from Rizom village in Womanang earned almost Nu 100,000 from chilies last year.
However, there have been a lot of wild animal attacks on their fields this year.
Sonam Choden has already sold chilies worth Nu 50,000. She has also dried a good amount which she will sell for Nu 1,000/kg.
Drela from Bomdir in Womanang sold chilies worth about Nu 15,000. “The problem is that we don’t have a farm road. It takes about two hours to reach the road head,” he said.
Villagers said that it is difficult for them to dry Yangtsepa chili as it is fleshy.
Nima Wangdi | T/Yangtse