Ban On Indian Chillies Increases Demand For Trashiyangtse's Chillies In Bhutan
The ban has encouraged Bhutanese farmers to produce and sell more chillies.
By Jigme Wangchen | Business Bhutan
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 the nearby province of Trashigang.
A 38-year-old vendor loads three sacks of Yangtse chillies along with a basket of cucumbers into his bolero. He plans to take the chillies to Kanglung and other provinces to sell as shopkeepers from these places have requested for his chilies.
“It is a lucrative business and the market is decent enough even though the number of vendors is increasing. Selling the chilies is not a problem at all.”
Ban on imported Indian chillies drives demand for Trashiyangtse’s famous chilies
The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regularity Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India in June 2016. This was due to the high pesticide content found in the chillies.
Since then, demand for Yangtse chilies has shot up drastically. The ban has encouraged local farmers to produce and sell more chillies.
The vendor 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.
Bhutanese from other provinces head to Trashiyangtse to buy chillies
Another farmer from the Ramjar gewog in Trashiyangtse said that people from other Dzongkhags even 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.
The sought-after taste of the famous Trashiyangtse chillies
Sonam Dorji, 36 from Samdrup Jongkhar who buys six kg of chilies from the 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.”
He added that he came to Doksum to buy chilies as the price is lower compared to Trashigang.
Another customer, Chador said that before the ban only those who had a decent income could afford the chilies from Yangtse. But today, almost everybody buys Yangtse chillies as it is the most affordable place to get chilli.
A vendor from Doksum quipped that it does not even take her half a day to finish selling around 10kg of chilies.
This article first appeared in Business Bhutan and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.