…employs women and youths in production 

Choki Wangmo | Dagana

The farmers’ sales outlet (FSO) located centrally at Dagapela has helped address marketing challenges for farmers in Dagana.

The outlet is linked to farmers’ groups across the 14 gewogs in the dzongkhag and is run by the 13-member farmers’ group, Daga Sanam Thuenken Detshen.

The outlet allows farmers to either sell their produce in raw forms or sell it to the post-harvest sub-centre located above the outlet. The produce is then processed into various other products.

Currently, there are 55 items in the outlet. It includes a wide range of agriculture, livestock, and non-wood forest products, processed commodities, and handicraft items.

Outlet manager Dawa Zam said, “In the past, farmers faced marketing challenges and ran into losses due to post-harvest damage.”

The easy access, she said, had also reduced transportation costs for farmers.

“This might encourage more people into farming as they have access to the market,” she added.

In recent years, commercial farmers in Dagana had increased drastically, with most of them venturing into winter chilli production.

Dawa Zam’s husband, Phuentsho, picks up produce from farmers according to market demand. Most of the sellers are from Gozhi and Tsendagang gewogs.

The FSO, she said, now caters to farmers and has been able to bring locally-produced goods to consumers in the district.

They also supply vegetables to all the schools and monasteries in the dzongkhag.

Santa Bdr Subba from Gozhi runs the dairy section. “The business is still growing. We are able to employ people in the processing firm,” he said. They are aiming to earn Nu 12,000 a day from the sales.

Norbu Zangmo from Tsendagang makes potato and banana chips at the post-harvest sub-centre and sells them under the brand name Ama Zamin chips at the outlet. The family-run business procures the raw materials from her gewog. She said that they are still in the process of upgrading the business and should get the equipment soon. On the weekend, she employs students in the firm as part-timers.

Sangay Lhadon from Daga Food Processing Group employs three women in her pickling processing firm. For the past six years, she produced pickles on a small scale and had difficulties in marketing her products.

“I don’t have to seek a market in other dzongkhags as I have an easy market at the FSO,” she said. In the future, once the machines are upgraded, she wants to focus on large-scale production and target consumers in other districts.

She makes four types of pickles, varieties of dried-fruit candies, and cookies with raw materials sourced from farmers in Tsendagang.

In two weeks, she sourced about 200kg of chillies from farmers in Tsendagang.

Except for utility bills, three renters at the outlet just have to pay a monthly rent of Nu 5,000.

Initiated by the dzongkhag agriculture sector, the FSO was established in September at the cost of Nu 4.1M. It was supported by the Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project.

The project also established similar outlets in Chhukha, Samtse, Sarpang, and Haa.