Bhutan: Government supports betel nut growers amid the pandemic in Sarpang


Once again, the government came to the rescue of betel nut growers in Sarpang. The Task Force instructed the gewog administrations to help farmers transport the produce. Most of the farmers grow betel nut in Sarpang.

March is the peak harvest season, the moment the farmers eagerly anticipate. Betel nut is one of the main cash crops but the movement restrictions have made it difficult for the farmers to take it to the market.

So, they are harvesting as much as they can and as fast as possible before the situation changes.

“With support from the gewog administration, there is no problem at all. Even transportation is not an issue,” said Laxman Gomden, a farmer in Shompangkha Gewog.

“People have been identified to work here. The buyers come here and we get paid instantly. It is convenient,” said Bhim Prasad Gautam, another farmer.

“We have SOP from the Dzongkhag administration for harvesting areca nut. We have around ten men harvesting areca nuts. We invited them to our gewog office and briefed them thoroughly on the SOP. We keep their driver in containment mode to transport the produce to Gelephu with an escort service by the Gewog Task Force member,” said Ashman Rai, Shompangkha Mangmi.

The Gewog Task Force escorts the vehicles to Gelephu. Farmers said betel nut is also fetching a better price this year. From Nu 4,500 for 100 kilograms last year, the price is now as high as Nu 5,000.

Sarpang exported more than 3,000 tons of betel nuts last year. And this time too, farmers have nothing to worry about.