Thukten Zangpo 

In a move aimed at boosting the growth of cottage and small industry (CSI), the Department of Industry has allocated plots to four manufacturing units, at the Changchey Industrial park in Semjong, Tsirang.

The four selected manufacturing units include processed cheese and ice-cream production, juice production, manufacturing of packing boxes, and production of mustard oil, flour and spices.

For the 10 remaining plots, the department has announced vacancy to interested agro-based production and manufacturing units.Applications should be submitted before September 4.

The Changchey Industrial Park was built as a pilot CSI Industrial Park under the Startup and CSI Development Fund through a transactional support fund at the cost of Nu 52 million. The park with over an area of two acres can accommodate about 14 CSIs. 

In 2021, the erstwhile Department of Cottage and Small Industry allotted land to nine CSIs. However, because of issues with access to finance, loan moratorium, and other Covid-19-related challenges, CSIs were compelled to withdraw.

Minister of Industry, Commerce and Employment, Karma Dorji, said that the intention of the CSI park development was to encourage the establishment of agro and food-related industries. 

Access to land, infrastructures, technology, and market, among others, are some of the challenges the CSIs face in the country. Lyonpo said that the industrial park is expected to ease these challenges as the department develops and provides basic amenities for CSIs.

Plans are underway to establish a common facility centre in the park. With the establishment of the facility, CSIs will be able to use commonly required machines and equipment, including those used in packaging, drying, sorting, dehydrating, sealing, vacuum packaging, de-husking machine, and labeling, among others. 

“These machines are expensive for individual industry to purchase on their own at the initial stage,” Lyonpo said.

To enhance market access, the park will not only add value to agro-products for the domestic market through collaboration with CSI market operators, but also aims to facilitate exports. 

Currently, the Department of Industry has set up two CSI markets in the country—Paro and Thimphu—and one each in Australia and USA. 

To uplift CSIs, Lyonpo said that the government would continue providing business development support services such as capacity building, post-support services, access to infrastructures, and access to markets. 

Government intervention with the central bank and financial institutions, he said, is necessary to ensure access to finance.

Policy reforms, rules and regulations, and guidelines and ease of doing business, as well the need for the donor agencies’ support, Lyonpo said, must be aligned to promote and develop CSIs.

The CSIs, accounting for 95 percent of total industries in the country, generate more than 90,000 employment opportunities. 

As of June, this year, there were 20, 378 CSIs in the country.