Coinciding with the international day of cooperatives, the Mongar Kuendrel Nyamley Tshogdhey (MKNT) office was inaugurated on July 7 in the dzongkhag.

Mongar dzongdag Ugen Sonam and the Regional Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives Office (RAMCO) chief, Dorji Rinchen, inaugurated the office.

The cooperative comprise of members of eight vegetable farmers’ groups in Mongar Gewog. There are 84 members of which 18 are male and 66 are female.

The group was established in 2015 with each member contributing Nu 1,000 each as membership fee and contributing Nu 100 for savings every month. The overall saving of the cooperative as of June 30 this year is Nu 901,356.

The cooperative is managed by a group of executive members or committee with chairperson looking after the overall management of the cooperative and secretary assisting the chairperson to keep records of cooperatives functioning.

The cooperative has also a loan committee (three members from the group) who reviews and verifies loan applications.

They said the loan is disbursed to its members at an annual interest rate of 10 percent and the maximum loan amount to the members is Nu 25,000.

The total loan amount disbursed to its members is Nu 785,000 as of June 30 this year. So far 41 members have availed loan from the cooperative.

Chairman of the cooperative, Sonam Zangmo, said that for the first two years, the cooperative focused on forming capital amount creating a capital with savings from the members and in 2017, the cooperative started disbursing loan.

Dorji Rinchen said that the credit tshogpa was formed after RAMCO created awareness on importance and benefits of establishing credit cooperative in a community.

He said the capacity development of executive members was strengthened through trainings on record and bookkeeping, leadership and group management.

Officials from RAMCO also said that MKNT is one of the first in the eastern region.

There are six credit and saving cooperatives in the country including MKNT in Wangduephodrang, Punakha, Zhemgang, Thimphu, Samtse and Mongar.

Officials said the cooperative has already shown a positive progress with a huge amount of loan disbursement to its members.

The cooperative secretary, Dechen Choden, said to increase the share capital and loan ceiling with increased outreach, they intend to reduce the interest rate to benefit its members.

“It is also to provide job opportunities to youth and other unemployed people in the community and to fulfill the social mandate by supporting disadvantaged members in the cooperative,” she said.

A cooperative beneficiary and a member, Kinzang Deki, 32, said she availed Nu 20,000 from the cooperative.

She said she used the loan money to buy electric fencing. “It is much easier to avail loan here.”

Officials from the regional office said they intend to open the credit and saving tshogpas in Merak, Trashigang and Orong gewog in Samdrupjongkhar.

Tashi Phuntsho | Mongar