Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

At least 14 truckloads of vegetables from Wangdue have been supplied to Thimphu, Sarpang and Tsirang since the lockdown.

According to a dzongkhag official, surplus vegetables were supplied to other dzongkhags according to demand.

Continuous supply of vegetables was ensured with activities such as fallow land revival, improved seed supply, and ensured markets as part of the dzongkhag’s Covid-19 contingency plan.

Today, chillies, cabbages and potatoes are in abundance in the dzongkhag.

“It is the peak season for vegetables right now. Plantation of small chillies to make it available for off-season has also begun,” a dzongkhag official said.

The dzongkhag on August 18 also donated excess vegetables to the Punakha Dratshang.

Within Wangdue dzongkhag, vegetable demands are met through three identified commercial aggregators (CA). Until August 18, more than 71.3 metric tonnes (MT) of vegetables were supplied within Wangdue.

While the CAs in the dzongkhag negotiate price with the farmers, the market price is monitored by the dzongkhag to ensure that there is no hike in the price.

Loading and unloading works are initiated by about 45 De-Suups to deliver essential items in Wangdue.

A De-Suup in Wangdue suggested that the Wangdue dzongkhag administration had prior discussions with the receiving dzongkhag so that re-handling of the vegetables could be avoided.

Today, after vegetables are collected from the gewogs and brought to Bajo, separate vehicle from the dzongkhag demanding vegetables come to collect the produce.

The De-Suup said that while labour wasn’t an issue, minimising re-handling of the produce would ensure less contact and safety.

The supply of dairy products was also ensured by keeping the milk-processing units (MPUs) functional.

Following the health safety protocols, dairy products from farmers are also collected by dzongkhag administration officials.

Until August 18, Wangdue supplied about 88,000 balls of cheese and around 3,000kg butter to the Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation (BLDC) in Thimphu.

Within Wangdue, on August 14 alone, the dzongkhag supplied more than 8,500 balls of cheese and over 400kg of butter.