Kelzang Wangchuk |  Jomotshangkha

When borders closed in March last year, the milk marketing group at Langchenphu gewog in Samdrupjongkhar was forced to stop its thriving milk export to India.  The group used to export more than 200 litres of milk daily to the nearest towns such as Tinali in Assam, India.

A member of the group, Tilachan Powdel, said that the group was earning well exporting the milk to India before the pandemic.

The group has recently started producing cheese, butter and yoghurt.  Group members said that they expected the business to do well in future if the situation improved.

The group does not have much milk these days as most farmers have stopped supplying since the borders closed.  They hardly get about 100 litres a day.

Tilachan Powdel said that the group earns about Nu 2,000 a month on average.  Selling yoghurt has become a challenge. “It would help us if the concerned authorities could allow us to export our milk and yoghurt to India.”

The group started producing dairy products on February 4 after a two-day training by livestock officials.

Another group member, Hari Maya Bhattarai, said that the group sells yoghurt at Nu 15 for a cup, a kilogram (kg) of cheese at Nu 300 and a kg of butter at Nu 500.

The Langchenphu gewog extension livestock officer, Cheki Dorji, said they were planning to supply yoghurt to schools with the feeding programme and also promote the same in the local market.

“We also have a plan to export milk and yoghurt to India as per the Covid-19 standard operation procedure (SoP) as there is huge demand, and we’re ready for it,” Cheki Dorji said.