Lhakpa Quendren

Tsirang—With increasing enthusiasm for roadside vegetable businesses along the Tsirang highway, vendors have begun establishing their vegetable sheds.

Five vegetable sellers in Tsholingkhar Gewog have already set up their sheds, and more are planning to construct sheds soon.

According to vendors, support from the gewog administration appears to be lacking, at least for now.

Passang Lhamo Sherpa, a 47-year-old vendor from Drupchhugang, erected a 15-foot-long permanent shed about three weeks ago. She had been engaged in the roadside vegetable business in temporary sheds for the last 10 years.

“The construction is expensive, taking about three weeks to complete at Nu 60,000,” she said, adding that the gewog dropped its initial plan to support the constructions due to budget constraints.

Passang Lhamo earns between Nu 1,000 to Nu 2,000 a day from selling organic and fresh vegetables, as well as mandarin, from her garden.

This income helps sustain the livelihoods of her four family members and supports other domestic activities.

This initiative comes following the requirement of a uniform structure by the surface transport department, utilising traditional Bhutanese architectural designs.

The structure is safe and stable, providing protection against rain and heat during the monsoon, as well as wind and dust during the winter.

Tsholingkhar Gup Pasang Thingh Tamang said that 17 temporary sheds would be replaced by permanent structures for the safety of the vendors. “The beneficiaries will form a group and collectively construct larger vegetable sheds.”

In the past, the government constructed vegetable sheds along the highways. However, concerns arise regarding the lack of proper care and maintenance of the sheds, given that they are provided for free.

Pasang Thingh Tamang said that the gewog administration is assisting interested vendors in processing their documents and providing other necessary support.

“Many farmers are showing interest in roadside business,” he added. “The gewog administration will support the installation of water taps and sanitation facilities.”

However, challenges remain for farmers to construct secure structures for their businesses.

“As of now, we have been unable to install a secure door, which makes it unsafe to store our produce in the sheds overnight,” said 28-year-old Edem Tamang from Sergithang, who established the sheds collectively with other vendors.

Another vendor, Purna Bahadur Tamang, highlighted challenges like restrictions on construction within a specific distance from the road, even on their registered land, making it difficult.

“The change in the political government should not harass or hamper the well-being of the farmers. Some vendors, including myself, even had to dismantle the structures after making a huge investment,” he said.