Thinley Namgay 

The highland dairy products shop in Thimphu, which was opened in July by a youth group from Sakteng in collaboration with National Highland Research Development Programme, is progressing well.

Since April, this youth group bought around 2,786kg of zoetey (fermented cheese) and around 1,720kg of butter from their locality, which has benefited the people who faced difficulty in marketing dairy products amid Covid-19 pandemic.

Located at Sangay Sales building near the vegetable market in Olakha, the shop is run by five men including three university graduates and two drivers who work with tour companies.

One of the group members, Pema Khandu, said that the shop was getting customers. “We could sell a minimum of 15kg of butter and 5-6kg of zoetey daily.” The group also provides door-to-door service within the thromde area in Thimphu.

The group is looking to collect dairy products from other communities.

During the nationwide lockdown, the group bought 10,000 balls of cheese and 500kg of butter from the localities of Haa, Gasa, and Wangdue. Moreover, the group also bought 500kg of butter from the people of Merak last month.

Pema Khandu said that the group tried to buy the products from other highland communities but it’s expensive. “For example, highland communities of Haa charges Nu 700 for 1kg of butter. We pay only Nu 280 each for 1kg of zoetey and butter from Sakteng.”

So far, the group spent around Nu 1.8 million, including the cost of products, transportation charges and the monthly rent of Nu 32,000.

As of yesterday, the group had 600kg of zoetey and 100kg of butter in the stock.

Phuntsho Wangdi, a group member, said that the group might be able to further improve their sells with facilities such as packaging, drying and grinding machine, and cold storage.

The group is paying Nu 32,000 for a bolero pickup truck and Nu 40,000 for a DCM truck as transportation charges to bring products from Sakteng.