Plans to produce four different types of premium pro-biotic yoghurt

With milk quality improving, Koufuku International Limited (KIL), a dairy processing plant at Chenary in Trashigang is now focusing on producing premium dairy products.

The plant’s stirred Swiss-style yoghurt produced for the first time this month has received positive feedback from the local market, according to KIL officials. 

Chief executive officer, Ugyen Dendup, said the company is in the process to produce at least four different types of premium pro-biotic yoghurt. 

He said the yoghurt would come in various fruit flavours that would be grown locally by farmers. Renewable Natural Resource Research and Development Centre in Wengkhar, Mongar has identified a group of farmers in Kanglung to grow strawberries for the dairy plant. 

Ugyen Dendup said that the plant would produce around 5,000 to 10,000 cups of yoghurt a day and that would require at least 150kg of strawberries a week. “We would be producing four different flavours of yoghurt everyday,” he said. “Our products will use only local products and at the same time maintain international standards.” 

Besides the company’s initial premium product, gauda cheese, KIL is exploring means to diversify its products without replicating what local farmers are already producing. “We do not want to compete with the farmers but instead we want to improve their livelihood by adding value to their milk.”

The company would slowly stop producing products such as cottage cheese, butter and other locally produced dairy products. “Now that we are receiving better quality milk, we can concentrate on producing premium products that would be of export quality.” 

Pasteurised and salted butter along with whey health drinks have received positive feedback from local market, claimed Ugyen Dendup. “The salted-butter is in high demand in Thimphu but we are unable to meet the demand since we are also engaged in producing other products at the same time.” 

The company is in discussion with the Bhutanese airline companies to replace the imported dairy products in their inflight meals.    

KIL is also exploring means to produce smoked gauda cheese. “Gauda is good for health as it is believed to prolong lives for its prefect protein and fat ratio content,” he said. 

Meanwhile, besides the improved quality of milk, the quantity of the milk supplied to the company has also increased. 

Around this time last year, KIL was functioning at 12 percent of its full capacity. The plant received about 450 litres of milk a day then. 

Today, the plant is running at about 45 percent of its full capacity. It receives around 1,800 litres of milk daily. The CEO said that the company aims to function at 50 percent by the end of the year.  

KIL spends around Nu 2.2 million monthly to purchase milk. “The improvement in both quality and quantity of milk has increased the money we inject into the local economy everyday.”

The company is currently working with nine farmer’s milk groups, three private and a public dairy farm in Trashigang. More than 200 households supply milk to the company. 

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang