Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

With the support of the dzongkhag livestock sector, Tashiding Gonor Thoenkey Detsen in Dagana has ventured into commercial plain yoghurt production, which is the first of its kind in the dzongkhag.

Dagana’s deputy chief livestock officer, Pema Wangchuk, said that the 19-member dairy group was formed in 2014 to meet market demand for local milk, butter, and cheese.

He said a milk-collecting centre was established for the dairy group with the financial support of Nu 1.5 million (M) from the gewog budget.  “The dzongkhag provided dairy equipment such as display freezers and milk churning percolators.”

The group also received dairy product processing equipment like yoghurt incubators, milk analysers, cup sealer machines, thermometers, yoghurt crates, and yoghurt cups worth Nu 1.10 M to produce yoghurt from the dzongkhag economic development sector.

Members were trained for three days before launching the products. 

“The group has the capacity to produce 500 cups of yoghurt daily, which will require about 125 litres of milk. The yoghurt will be supplied to three schools for the day feeding programme, and to the local market within the dzongkhag,” Pema Wangchuk said.

According to him, the yoghurt is high in protein, calcium, and vitamins, and these can offer protection for bones, teeth, and help to prevent digestive problems. “Low-fat yoghurt can be a good source of protein for those pursuing weight loss, and may boost the immune system,” he said. 

Dagana dzongdag Duba, who inaugurated the firm, said that it would have direct benefits for farmers, students, and local consumers. “Farmers will have a ready market for the sale of milk, students will get fresh yogurt twice a week at a concessional rate, and local consumers will get yoghurt at a reasonable price.”

A cup of yoghurt (150ml) costs Nu 20 for the school feeding programme and Nu 25 for the public.

Once production is optimised, there are plans to export the products to other dzongkhags.

There are plans with the dzongkhag to open similar ventures in Gozhi and Kana gewogs.

The sales outlet is located below the Tashiding-Dagapela highway.