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Phub Dem | Haa

It is 10 in the morning. Villagers of Bangyene in Uesu, Haa have assembled by the road with steel containers filled with fresh milk. They are waiting for the milk van.

Haa Valley Cooperative’s milk van does of Uesu and Katshog every day. The cooperative, which is currently headed by Tshewang Norbu, was established in 2016.

The employees are paid monthly salary ranging between Nu 7,000 and Nu 15,000.

Choki, a farmer, said that it was difficult to grow crops and vegetables. “Agriculture business is not sustainable due to extreme winter temperatures. Livestock is the only alternative for many people here.”

She sells four litres of milk daily.

Tshewang Norbu said that diary production was a lucrative business but only in summer.

The cooperative’s annual profit is Nu 0.15milion.

Farmers of the two gewogs  which sells milk to the cooperative are members.

Challenges

The major challenge for the cooperative, according to Tshewang Norbu, is door-to-door collection.

He said that the collection took about five hours—two vans cover a distance of about 13 kilometres.

He said that without a chiller van it was difficult to store fresh milk. “By the time we reach the processing unit, sometimes milk goes bad. That is why no fresh milk from Haa is for sale in other dzongkhag.”

Plans

The cooperative is currently constructing a mini-farm in Wangtsa. Come July, a farm project will begin near the processing unit.

The new farm, Tshewang Norbu said, would have a hundred milking cows.

The cooperative produces butter, cheese, hard cheese, paneer, yoghurts, Italian cheese, and Mozzarella cheese.

Italian and Mozzarella cheese is exported through One-Gewog-One-Product.

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