Imported ch l es banned
Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) temporarily banned import of chilies on July 22 following detection of pesticide content that exceeded permissible limits.
BAFRA had sent three varieties of imported chilies to India in May for laboratory testing after a variety of imported chili was found containing pesticide.
The laboratory report revealed the presence of pesticides which are moderately toxic and the use of which is not permitted in the country.
Since then, BAFRA implemented the ban with immediate effect across the country.
One week after the ban of imported chilies, local chili prices hit a new high with prices fluctuating between Nu 300 to Nu 500/ kg at the centenary farmers’ market.
People started consuming other chili like cherry pepper (dallay), which also came dear at Nu 100/25gms.
After almost five months of the ban, about three metric tons of chili were transported in a chartered flight on December 4 by the two Bhutanese airlines from Kolkata for free.
According to the agriculture minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, the shortage of chilies was strongly felt in the capital and not much in the other dzongkhags.
The country’s requirement for chili during winter is about 1,527MT considering that two-thirds of the annual import of chilies, which is 2,291MT, is consumed during winter.