YK Poudel 

In an effort to meet demand for local produce in Perth, a Cottage and Small Industry (CSI) market outlet opened in Perth, Australia on December 17.

It would offer 125 different products and 70 percent of which would be food items from Bhutan.

Bhutanese in Perth are optimistic that the outlet will promote Bhutanese products, particularly high-value niche products, and earn convertible currency, encourage CSIs to enhance value addition, upscale and improve efficiency.

“The store will serve as a one-stop centre for all made in and grown in Bhutan products,” the respondents said.

Lyonpo Loknath Sharma and the Ambassador of Bhutan to Australia, Sonam Tobgay inaugurated the “Bhutan Store” virtually coinciding with the 115th National Day celebrations.

Department of Industry (DoI) Director Chimme Tshering said that the public-private partnership store in Perth will support the development of rural economy and generate employment opportunities in the country. “Our main strategy is to start small and grow in a sustained manner, by targeting our Bhutanese diaspora in Perth and expand to other nationalities.”

“We are hopeful that such a store will be a platform for the CSI market and help in preserving Bhutanese culture and tradition, especially among the younger Bhutanese brought up in Australia,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Druksell, Sonam Chophel started the store with interest from Australian communities and through support from DoI.

He said the main objective of establishing the “Bhutan Store” is to enhance market access in the international market – one of the main barriers that hamper CSI development in the country.

“The large Bhutanese community is a major advantage for the outlet and reaching the products in the global market is our mandate.”

The store will be operated by Kuenzang Wangdi, a Bhutanese resident in Perth. It is a combination of “Druk sell” e-commerce and “CSI Market” a physical retail store.

The establishment of the CSI market outlet in Perth, Australia was initiated by the Department of Industry under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in collaboration with the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Canberra, Australia.