Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

With the opening of a newly constructed dairy processing unit, a women’s dairy group in Minjey, Lhuentse, is expected to produce quality and hygienic dairy products and expand yoghurt production.

The group called ‘Lhamo Norgyuenma Phendey Tshogpa’ was formally established in 2016 with 25 members from Jalang, Bragong, Minjey, and Tongling, but it has been challenged by being limited to an improper milk processing shed that impacted production of clean and quality dairy products.

Inaugurated on January 30, the new unit will help farmers produce and supply standardised quality dairy products like yoghurt, butter, cheese, butter and milk.

The dairy group collects 500 litres of milk in summer and 350 litres in winter every day.

Their products are linked and have been marketed to the schools and monastic schools of Lhuentse.

The Regional Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives (RAMCO) in Mongar also facilitate the supply of dairy products to the local markets.

CARLEP-IFAD, Mongar, funded the construction of the unit that includes the construction of a permanent shed and equipment worth about Nu 3 million for the project aimed at promoting the dairy value chain and product diversification.

Lhuentse’s assistant dzongkhag livestock officer, Phurpa Tshering, the unit has two new yoghurt incubation machines, each with the capacity to accommodate 1,000 cups of yoghurt.

“The group has been using a small machine with the capacity to store 200 cups until now,” he said.

Phurpa Tshering said they plan to extend the market to the adjoining dzongkhags and towns in the future after increasing the production and membership.

Meanwhile, the members of the group are happy with the new facility.

The secretary of the group, Wangmo, said the old milk processing unit was small and congested, with churning and yoghurt-making done in a single room.

He said the new facility had a separate room for different activities and it will help maintain hygiene. “It is also much more convenient.”