Raling Farmers Gear Up for Commercial Production of Chilli
The Raling farmers under Pemathang gewog, Samdrup Jongkhar has communally formed a group, Raling Chilli Production Group, and has prepared 2 acres of fallow land for the mass production of chili on a commercial scale. The majority of the members are women (Female-15 and Male -4).
With the support from CARLEP-IFAD, which includes greenhouses, poly tunnel plastics, shade net, drip irrigation systems, sprinklers, hybrid chili seeds and other vegetable seeds, the group proactively began the land preparation for the commercial chili cultivation in the face of the COVID-19 crises.
As the country has seen the importance of producing our local vegetables and other commodities especially in pandemic situations, the group is proactively working hard to produce a large quantity of chili to meet the demands within the region and beyond. The group will be producing a variety of chilies including local, hybrid, and Indian chili variety with due consideration of Bhutanese people’s taste for spices.
Currently, the group is engaged in the preparation of plastic mulching and transplantation of the seedlings. With the technical assistance from the gewog agriculture supervisor, the group has raised chili nursery in 0.30 acre of land. In the future, the group plans to expand the area under chili cultivation up to 4 acres.
Although the group will mainly focus on chili cultivation, other commodities such as Cole crops, onions, beans, and peas will be also cultivated during off seasons to meet the market demand. This initiative is aimed at increasing the returns from the sale of vegetables to the smallholder farmers, thereby initiate resilient livelihoods enhancement.
The group also received support for the electric fencing on a cost-sharing modality where the project provided financial support for 60% of the cost and the farmers contributed 40% in labor.
Amid the crises triggered by climate change, volatile commodity prices, and the COVID-19 global pandemic, the group will continue to produce food that will greatly contribute to food security in the country.
Reported by: Chhimi Lhamo, GKMO