Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Despite border closure and ongoing lockdown, the milk marketing groups in Samdrupjongkhar have been able to export milk to India.

The groups exported about 1,440 litres of milk yesterday. The milk export resumed a month ago.

The groups from Orong, Dewathang, Gomdar and Wooling, among others, are at the border gate as the export starts around 6am. Covid-19 safety measures and protocols are strictly followed during the export.

The Indian traders keep the empty milk containers about a metre away from the gate, and they stay about five to 10 metres away from the containers. The cooperative dairy shops’ staff fill the containers without touching them and wash their hands after filling the containers.

Norbu from Orong said they were happy that the export has been allowed even during the lockdown.

Kencho Wangda from Dewathang said it’s better to export milk because local market is very small. “We get the profit of Nu 200 to Nu 300 from selling about five litres of the milk than producing the butter and cheese, among others,” he said.

The chief livestock officer, B.N Sharma, said the groups sell the milk to the cooperative dairy shops and residents in the thromde and export the leftover milk to India. “We do not supply to other dzongkhags as milk is difficult to transport.”

He said that the Indian traders bring money twice a week in proper packing and put in the quarantine box for 72 hours before taking home in the cooperative staff’s presence.

B.N Sharma said that the milk is available in the town as more than 500 litres of milk are sold daily and produce butter, cheese and yogurt, among others at the cooperative shop. “People might be complaining because they do not know the timing of our two milk outlets in the town.”

The outlets sell milk from 6am to 10am while the cooperative dairy shops sell the butter and cheese, among others, and remain open the whole day. “We also supply dairy products to the schools whenever they required.”