Given that demand far outstrips supply, the association has nowhere to go but up

Cooperative: As soon as the clock strikes seven, Genden Zangmo, 48, in Gomdar carries her bamboo basket and goes out knocking on her neighbours’ doors.

Each door opens to hand over bottles of milk.  Her friend Sherab Choezom, 40, helps her carry the milk.

This is a regular routine for every Gomdar villager, who takes turns to collect and deliver milk to the milk-processing unit.

Known as Omar Datsi Thuendel tshogpa, some 280 members from 20 villages in six chiwogs formed the group two months ago to generate income from milk and dairy products.

Each household sells about five litres of milk.  They earn about Nu 25 for a litre of milk, Nu 300 for a kilogram of butter, and Nu 15 for a ball of cheese. “Forming a group is a good way to sell milk and we hope it’ll be successful,” Genden said.

Business is picking up, with the group receiving increasing demand from neighbouring gewogs, Samdrupjongkhar town and the border town, Darangha, popularly known as Mela Bazaar, in Assam.

However, with no utility vehicle to deliver the milk and dairy products, the group has been unable to meet the demand.

Gomdar is 76km from Samdrupjongkhar.

“We hope the livestock office or the gewog could help us deliver our products in large volumes,” a member Sherab Choezom said. “Without a vehicle, what use is the farm road?”

Livestock extension officer Chado said the only way to get a vehicle for the group is through government loan, which members have already processed for.

Chado said they had earlier tried to hire a private vehicle to collect and drop milk, but the arrangement failed, since the owner suffered a huge loss.

“Although villagers from  the 20 villages are members of the group, only four villages that are nearest to the gewog centre deliver milk in the absence of a vehicle,” he said. “There’s more demand for fresh milk than dairy products, but we’re unable to meet the demand.”

By Yangchen C Rinzin, Gomdar