May 5, 2022

Due to heavy rain and humidity, districts like Trashi Yangtse face unfavorable weather to dry their chilies. The Bomdiling Urka Group, based in Trashi Yangtse in Eastern Bhutan, is now equipped with a new electric dehydrator and will no longer need to worry about their chilies wilting. The shared community dehydrator will allow the farmers to reduce about 50-60% of post-harvest loss and add more value to their production. 

The self-help group consists of 18 farmers, mostly women, who are currently training in using and maintaining the dehydrator. They have also undergone training to properly package their dried chilies and are learning to dehydrate other vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, and radishes.

The Bhutan Foundation, in collaboration with USAID – US Agency for International Development and BAOWE, supported the group to address access to good farming and post-harvest technology and access to the market. The overall goal of this project is to enhance local agriculture production, reduce post-harvest losses and ultimately keep our women farmers employed and out of poverty during the pandemic and beyond. 

Dechen Zangmo, one of the members of the self-help group, has this to say about the support, “We are all very excited to have a dehydrator in our community. In fact, a few of us are seeing this kind of equipment for the first time. In the past, we largely depended on traditional methods of sun-drying our vegetables. However, with erratic and unpredictable weather conditions, we haven’t been able to dry the vegetables. Having a dehydrator will allow us to increase the shelf life of our vegetables, mainly our popular chilies, as that is our main cash crop.”