Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) regional office in Bumthang has helped initiate three projects to enhance culture and tradition and create jobs in the dzongkhag.

Called ‘Brand Bumthang’, the initiatives include making bronze statue, buckwheat noodle making and producing yathra slippers and boots.

BCCI in-charge, Lekden Wangchuk, said BCCI helped in writing proposals, providing capacity building trainings and exploring funds.

He said the projects are focused on preservation and promotion of culture and tradition.

The projects are expected to curb import and generate employment.

Loday Tshering who has worked for 17 years in Nepal as a statue maker will operate the statue-manufacturing project. He is also trained in bronze statue making.

Buckwheat is widely grown in Bumthang and the noodles are already available in the market. However, there is no standard packaging.

Lekden Wangchuk said a youth group would form a cooperative in Tang to produce the noodle. “The cooperative could buy buckwheat produced in the four gewogs at reasonable price and produce a standard package for individuals and family.”

The samples for yathra slippers are already in the market and the producers have already received orders.

Although the procurement of machines and setting up of the unit is underway more than 80 pairs of slippers have been already sold.

A tailor in Chamkhar town, who has been in the business for more than 11 years, will produce the slippers and boots.

Loden Foundation is funding the bronze statue-manufacturing project and the dzongkhag the administration will be funding the buckwheat noodle unit.

The proposal of the yathra slipper production has been put up for the priority sector-lending (PSL) scheme.

Lekden Wangchuk said BCCI would do cost analysis for smooth running of the products and help promote the business in the country. “The projects are expected to be fully equipped by 2021.”

Nim Dorji | Bumthang