The buy-back scheme initiated by the agriculture marketing and cooperatives department, saw six farm shops purchasing about 18 MT of maize, cabbage and pigeon pea in the last fiscal year.

To provide an assured market for agriculture produce, the government initiated buy-back scheme as one of the main functions of farm shops.

While open market selling of produce is encouraged, the Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperative’s (DAMC) annual report stated that buy-back is the last-ditch market avenue. A committee determines the buy-back prices and other conditions annually.

The report stated that about 8MT of maize was the main produce purchased under this scheme followed by pigeon pea and cabbage. Farmers of six gewogs, who participated in the buy-back scheme last year earned around Nu 0.214.

Business linkages and market facilitation, according to the report has worked well in eastern Bhutan in linking producer groups with institutions such as schools and colleges for supply of vegetables.

Based on demand, growers and grower groups continue to be supported to sell their produce at the CFM and other urban markets, including such as luxury hotels and resorts.

Sale of livestock and dairy produce by farmers group and cooperatives in the local market was recorded at Nu 91M. Like wise the value of sale of vegetables and fruits in the open market was recorded at Nu 74M. Farmers’ group and cooperatives earned Nu 20M from supply of fruits and vegetable to schools, institutions and dratshang. The value of sale of farm produce in the centenary farmer’s market in the last fiscal year is Nu 25M.

In an endeavor to establish 205 farm shops during the 11 FYP, the department had a balance target of 52 farm shops to be established in the 2017-2018 FY.

However, during the mid-term review of 2017-2018 Annual Performance Agreement, 14 farm shops were removed from the target based on the submission from dzongkhags and gewogs that farm shops were not required since those areas have easy market access for agricultural commodities. Some 40 farm shops were established with total investment of Nu 32M in 2017-18.

Tshering Dorji