Business: Villagers of Ura in Bumthang, who travel almost 48km to Chamkhar to sell their farm produce, can now sell it in their Sanam Tshongkhang (farm shop).

Finance minister Namgay Dorji inaugurated the three-window farm shop yesterday. Of the three windows, one is for local farm produce, another for agricultural equipment and the third for groceries.

Lyonpo Namgay Dorji said the Sanam Tshongkhang would not only help farmers in marketing their farm produces but also provide necessary commodities to people at cheaper prices.

He also said that the farm shop would benefit farmers, as they need not sit and wait along the road to sell their products.

Lyonpo also clarified that the opening of the farm shop is definitely not aimed at hampering the business of shopkeepers in Ura. “It’s is for the benefit of the people as per its objectives.”

Pangkhar Tshogpa Tshewang Jamtsho, said the shop will benefit the people, as they would get agricultural tools like spades and shovels and necessary commodities at a cheaper price. “We have to travel to Chamkhar or buy the things from Phuntsholing when we take our potatoes for sale,” he said. “From now on, we will get at any time.”

Tshewang Jamtsho said the farm shop might affect the business of a few shop owners but it will benefit the public.

Tangsibi Tshogpa Ugyen Tenzin, said people of Tangsibi would also benefit from the shop although the village is some 25km away. “We frequently come to Ura for meetings and other personal work in the gewog office and we can buy the necessities,” he said.

Ugyen Tenzin, however, said it is too early to say that the farm shop is cheaper than other shops.

A farmer from Tangsibji, Ugyen Rigzin, 30, said the farm shop would encourage people to grow crops in large quantities.

He said he would now cultivate more buckwheat and barley, so that he can sell them to the farm shop as grains or flour. “As of now, people grow for their own consumption, as it is difficult to market.”

Farmers, however, said they would sell the farm produces to the farm shop if the price is better than what they get in Phuentsholing.

A senior general manager for the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) in the Gelephu region, Ugyen Choidup, said the shop would buy the farm produce in bulk.

He said the shop would buy any renewable natural resource (RNR) products at the rate fixed by the government.

A total of 84 farmers shops have been opened in the country so far and the same will be opened gradually in all 205 gewogs.

Meanwhile, Lyonpo Namgay Dorji also inaugurated electric pots at the Ura Central School and electric fencing at Shingnyer, which were provided by the Phrumsingla National Park (PNT). PNP’s Flora and Fauna pictorial guidebook was also launched.

Lyonpo also awarded a new certificate for the Siptangzur Community Forestry at Tangsibji after they successfully completed 10 years.

Nima Wangdi | Ura