Protected Chilli Cultivation by Raling Tshesay Detshen and Pemathang Tshesay Detshen
Pemathang Gewog is located at an altitude range of 600 to 1200 masl and has a total area of 76.54 square kilometers under Samdrup Choeling Drungkhag, Samdrup Jongkhar Dzongkhag. The gewog has a Subtropical climate with heavy monsoon rain from June to September. The Gewog has five chiwogs and covers 588.56 acres of dryland and 975.07 acres of wetland. The farmers grow paddy, locally known as Khamtey as the staple crop. With the favorable weather conditions and topography, a variety of vegetables such as chili, onion, tomato and other commodities can be grown even during the winter months. Considering these factors, the gewog has many vegetable groups, Of which Raling Tshesay Detshen constituting 15 members (7 females and 8 males) and Pemathang Tshesay Detshen constituting of 6 members (1 female and 5 male) are one of the active groups in the gewog.
These groups were initially formed in 2017 as vegetable production groups, unfortunately, remained inactive due to marketing challenges. In 2019, the group saw an opportunity to earn through chili sales due to the ban on imported chili and other commodities. Then the groups were restored and began mass chili cultivation in total acreage of 3, with fund support from CARLEP-IFAD and technical assistance from the former Gewog Agriculture Extension.
Under the vegetable intensification program, the groups received supports for production inputs such as seed, mulching plastics, green net, efficient irrigation materials such as drip and sprinklers, and greenhouses and low-cost poly house from CARLE-IFAD on a cost-sharing basis, where 80% of the total cost is borne by the project and the rest by the beneficiary.
In April 2019, the groups began raising the nursery of hybrid chili (GARMI-7) and SHP-4884 in polyhouse. The Raling Tshesay Detshen and Pemathang Tshesay Detshen transplanted chili seedlings at recommended spacing on 1 acre and 2 acres of land using plastic mulching respectively.
The Raling vegetable group has produced 2MT of chili in FY2019-2020 and has earned an income of Nu. 600,000, whereas the Pemathang vegetable group produced 0.9MT of chili and earned about Nu.270,000. As there are promising income-generating opportunities through the sale of chili especially during the current pandemic when chili fetches Nu. 300 per kg on average, both groups have expanded their area of cultivation. While Raling VG expanded the cultivation from 1 to 10 acres of government lease land, Pemathang VG from 2 to 15 acres in FY2020-2021.
From March till mid of May 2021, the Raling VG has produced 1.1MT of chili and Pemathang VG has produced 1.3MT and had made an income of Nu. 330,000 and Nu. 384,000 respectively.
The group markets chili at a local market, Samdrup Jongkhar town, and also in other Dzongkhags which include Trashigang and Pemagatshel. Both groups plan to extend their market outreach to more Dzongkhags such as Trashiyangtse, Mongar, and Lhuentse to meet the demand for Indian chili.
Amid the Covid -19 Pandemic, as the market demands more chili, the groups plan to work harder and expecting to yield 15MT of chili this peak season.
Article by: Sanga Choden, Extension Supervisor, Samdrup Jongkhar and Chhimi Lhamo, GKMO, CARLEP.