… to supply agriculture and livestock products to schools
About 30 farmers’ groups in Sarpang are linked with 20 schools in the dzongkhag to help farmers sell agriculture and livestock products.
The school-linking programme began in 2018 in Sarpang with support of the Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project (FSAPP), the dzongkhag agriculture sector, and the Regional Agricultural and Marketing Cooperative.
Getemkha vegetable group in Gakidling gewog is linked with Lharing Primary School. The group supplies vegetables and livestock products worth Nu 33,000 a month.
The number of members in the group increased since the start of the programme.
A group member said that it was challenging to sell vegetables and livestock products before the start of the school linking programme.
“We have to carry till Sarpang town and Gelephu to sell vegetables,” he said. “Now we could sell our produce at the doorsteps.”
He added that farmers could also fetch a good price through the programme.
Officials from the gewog said access to market has been one of the biggest challenges for the farmers. “The high cost of production, lack of storage facilities, and poor packaging worsened the situation. One immediate market was schools and hospitals.”
Chairperson of the group, Abi Maya Rai, said farmers could sell agriculture and livestock products only once a week before the group was linked with the school.
The programme is also aimed at providing nutritious food for schoolchildren.
Gakidling gewog agriculture extension officer, Tashi Tshomo, said the number of farmers joining the programme increased over the years. “Many were not convinced with the programme in the beginning. But, many farmers came forward today.”
She said that the group also earns good income. “They don’t have to search for the market. Farmers make good income even during the off-season.”
According to Tashi Tshomo, many farmers agreed to be part of the programme this year. “Farmers were not so cooperative as they did not understand the concept in the beginning.”
From only nine members led by a woman chairperson in 2018, there are more than 30 members, supplying vegetables including livestock products to the school, according to gewog officials.
The group earned a gross income of Nu 404,994 from the supply of vegetables, fruits, and livestock products to the school last year.
The group aims to extend their supplies to other bigger schools in the dzongkhag.