Agriculture: The Food Corporation of Bhutan ltd (FCB) opened a depot and farm-shop in Khuruthang to serve as a collection and supply centre for gewog-based farm shops in Punakha, Gasa and Wangdue on May 1.

It is the 49th farm shop opened in the country.

FCB (Phuentsholing) CEO, Karma Nidup said the depot would also sell goods and essentials on wholesale to any shops from paan shops to general stores in the three dzongkhags, but not on retail. The FCBL also has a depot in Bajo.

Around three to four truckloads of food, grains and other essentials items have been stocked for the initial period. Currently there are two staff deployed at the depot. “We are planning to soon open farm shops in all 11 gewogs of Punakha,” Karma Nidup said.

He said this is inline with the government’s initiative to open farm shops across the country, and also to encourage the youth to venture into agricultural businesses. Two youths have been employed in each farm shop.

Currently around 35 youths are undergoing trainings for the upcoming farm shops, said the CEO.

“Our plan is to open at least 100 farm shops by this year end,” said Karma Nidup. By December 2018, the FCBL aims to cover all 205 gewogs, and recruit around 410 youths.

He said the farm shop’s functions include helping farmers with marketing. The FCB farm shop will purchase farm produce on a contract basis, and make available farming tools, seeds, fertilizers, and spare parts for farm equipment, among others.

The shops will also make food items easily accessible at affordable prices. Essential items like toothpaste, soap and other hygiene related products will also be available.

Construction of the FCB depot and farm shop was started in March 2015 and completed within 12 months, according to Karma Nidup.

The depot and farm shop was constructed at a cost of Nu 12 million (M), of which the World Food Programme has sponsored Nu 4.5M.

Agriculture and forests minister Yeshey Dorji and health minister Tandin Wangchuk attended the opening ceremony.

Dawa Gyelmo | Punakha