Since imported chilies were banned in 2016, the demand for Yangtse chilies has shot up drastically
Trashiyangtse’s famous chilies have hit the market with a kilogram costing Nu 120 to 130 in the Dzongkhag and Nu 150 to Nu 250 in other places including nearby Trashigang.
A 38-year-old vendor loads three sacks of Yangtse chilies along with a basket of cucumbers into his bolero. He plans to take the chilies to Kanglung among others as shopkeepers from these places have asked him to bring the chilies for sale.
“It is a lucrative business and the market is decent although the number of vendors is increasing. Selling the chilies is not a problem at all.”
He said that the ban of Indian chilies has been good for his business. “We also supply chilies to Trashigang and other Dzongkhags.”
“Many people in Yangtse sell chilies for a living,” he added.
Another farmer from Ramjar gewog in Trashiyangtse said that people from other Dzongkhags arrive at their doorsteps to buy chilies.
He said that before the ban of Indian chilies, only a handful of customers would buy chilies from Yangtse but now their customer base has increased drastically. “The ban on the import of chilies has motivated us to work harder and cultivate chilies on a large scale as the domestic demand is high.”
Earlier, farmers could sell only around 50kg of chilies. But now, they can sell more than 150kg.
Meanwhile, he said that he has made a profit of more than Nu 20,000 as of now.
Sonam Dorji, 36, from Samdrup Jongkhar who buys six kg of chilies from Doksum vegetable market said that Yangtse is known for its chilies, “Yangtse chilies are perfect for ema datse. They are not very spicy and my family demands chilies from Yangtse.”
Further, he said that he came to Doksum to buy chilies as the price is lower compared to Trashigang.
Another customer, Chador said before the ban only those who had a decent income could afford the chilies from Yangtse. But today, almost everybody buys Yangtse chilies as it is the only available chili.
A vendor from Doksum said it does not take her even half a day to finish selling around 10kg of chilies.
Decidedly, the ban on imported chilies has encouraged local farmers to produce and sell more chilies.
The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regularity Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India in June 2016.
The ban was imposed since imported chilies showed high pesticide content.
Jigme Wangchen from T/yangtse