Farm Machinery Corporation Ltd’s (FMCL) first five products were sold out at the launch day in Thimphu on June 16.

The products worth Nu 301,120 include sesame oil and four rice varieties from its commercial farms across the country.

FMCL brought 6.675 metric tonnes (MT) of rice including Khamti rice from Phuntshothang commercial farm, Tan-tsheri from Punakha, red rice from Ramthangkha farm, Paro and spring rice (GB-1) from Gelephu farm, and the sesame oil from Nitchula commercial farm in Dagana.

The 2.28MT of Khamti and 1.105MT of Tan-tsheri the corporation brought for the launch, including the 248 bottles (250ml) of Sesame oil, were sold out the same day.

Khamti is a popular brand, which sells at a market price of Nu 95 a kilogramme. FMCL is selling it at Nu 79 a kilogramme, which is the cost of production.

FMCL produced 80.311MT of rice from 113.83 acres last year including 27MT of Khamti rice from 99.5 acres, and 11.4MT of Tan-tshere.

FMCL’s head of contract farming unit Jitshen Wangchuk said, “Our motive is not to compete with the farmers but to contribute to achieving food self-sufficiency.”

He said the corporation stumbled on sesame oil accidentally.

“Elephants destroyed our crops so we sowed sesame seeds to keep them away,” he said.

As a result they harvested and produced 822 litres from 40 acres. The oil is sold at Nu 153 a bottle. It has 760 litres.

He said that this is good news as Bhutan is only 10 percent sufficient in oil.

Jitshen Wangchuk said the corporation is looking for dealers. “The products will also be available from our regional offices and service centre soon,” he said. “We shall continue growing these varieties of rice in the coming season so as to fulfill people’s demand and to provide better choices for consumers.”

FMCL has nine service centres and eight commercial farms.

FMCL officials said that they had to reduce spring paddy cultivation from 500 acres to 250 this year.

“But cultivation will continue and we are determined to make it work,” Jitshen Wangchuk said.

One of the mandates of the corporation is to conduct commercial and contract farming.  FMCL was established in August 2016 and began spring paddy cultivation last year.

The corporation cultivates 2,600 acres across the country and employs 469 staff altogether.

Tshering Palden