Yoghurt has taken the business of Choling Yargay detsen (CYD), an ice-cream-manufacturing cooperative at Singeygang in Samtse, to a new height.

CYD ventured into manufacturing yoghurt in February this year and since then they had been selling about 100 to 150 cups of chilled yoghurt every day. A cup of yoghurt costs Nu 20.

The group, formed in 2014, produced ice cream initially.

Shops in Gola town that buy the yoghurt from the group sell it for Nu 25.

Sale increases on weekends when people travel to Jitti border and Belbotay Haat.

On May 14, when Kuensel visited the sale counter, the cooperative had sold 400 cups of yoghurt by midday. Only 50 cups remained.

CYD was formed with 25 members.

The cooperative chairman, Gauri Shankar Bhandari, said with summer around the corner, the business might prosper.

He said the members supply about 200 litres of milk in a day. “Today, we receive only about 50 litres of milk a day.”

Meanwhile, Gauri Shankar Bhandari said he learnt to make yoghurt when he attended a training in Thailand in May 2016. The economic affairs ministry had initiated the training.

He said agriculture ministry and UNDP’s GEF-small grants programmes, supported the establishment of the cooperative.

“Apart from all the support, the group also took a risk by availing a loan of Nu 2 million (M),” the chairman said. “The group has to clear the loan in five years’ time.”

He said with the government leasing 90 acres of farmland where cattle are reared and fodders are grown, the future of the cooperative is good.

“In another two months’ time, we will have additional 20 milking cows,” Gauri Shankar Bhandari said.

He said the group met recently and decided to expand the members. “We will have marketing person too.”

The cooperative also manufactures paneer, cheese, and butter.

“Demand for paneer has also increased with people, as far as from Thimphu, asking for it,” the chairman said. One kilogramme of paneer costs Nu 350.

The cooperative is located near the Sipsuchu bridge.

Rajesh Rai | Tashichholing