THIMPHU, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) — The chilli price across Bhutan has been on sharp rise in recent weeks due to the import restrictions and domestic supply shortage.
The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regularity Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of Chilies from India this July, after a laboratory test conducted by BAFRA found that all three varieties of chilies — Hybrid, Teransani and Akashi — imported from India showed the presence of chlorophenol, an organochlorine pesticide considered to be moderately toxic and banned in Bhutan.
Chilli, consumed with rice, is the main curry ingredient consumed by Bhutanese throughout the country.
The locally produced organic chilli normally costs around 100 Ngultrum (1.5 U.S. dollars) to 150 Ngultrum per kilogram, while the imported chilli costs only 50 Ngultrum.
The agriculture ministry expected the local produced chilli would meet the domestic demand, however, local production was inadequate and the price increased. Dried red-chilli costs more than 2,900 Ngultrum per kilogram, while the price of green local chilli is 500 Ngultrum and is expected to rise.
Earlier this year, the BAFRA has banned import of cauliflower and beans. Domestic supply shortage also bumped up the prices of both cauliflower and beans.
Netizens have written open letters to the agriculture ministry, calling for immediate solution, as the majority of middle-income persons earn less than 500 Ngultrum per day and the illiterates and those depend on daily-wage earn less than 5 U.S. dollars per day. If prices continue increasing, it would be difficult for low earners to survive. Enditem