Local rice production picking up

Grains: Chuzagang rice will soon become available in the market. A rice mill at Chuzagang in Sarpang was officially started on April 20 last year.

Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) regional manager Ugyen Choidup said that they managed to collect only 26 metric tones (MT) of rice from farmers, last year, whereas they have already collected 185MT of rice so far, this year.

“Few weeks back we collected around 185MT of rice and we are still collecting it from the farmers,” he said.

He added that to encourage farmers to bring their rice to the Chuzagang rice mill they even provided them with cash advances last year.

“The agreement was drawn between the FCB and concerned farmers in presence of gup and gewog officials last year that can take advances during the paddy plantation time and have to return back as rice on harvest season,” Ugyen Choidup said.

He said all the farmers who took the advances have cleared their debt and FCB even bought surplus from the farmers worth Nu 8M.

The rice was collected from the farmers of Chuzagang, Umling, Taraythang and from the rice growing villages in Sarpang and Samdrup Jongkhar.

“Actually we have our rice mill in Samdrup Jongkhar but three phase electricity was unable to support there and we had to bring Samdrup Jongkhar rice to Sarpang,” he said.

Eighty-nine metric tones of rice was brought from Samdrup Jongkhar while the rest was collected from Sarpang.

At the Chuzagang rice mill they have so far milled six varieties of paddy in which two varieties were brought from Samdrup Jongkhar. All have been packaged into sacks containing five, 10 and 20 kilograms of rice. The rice is expected to become available in all FCB outlets in all dzongkhags, shortly.

The regional manager said that to encourage more production they are even targeting the Indian market.

He added that the Chuzagang rice mill is to produce quality rice to sustain in the market and the mill has the capacity to produce one and half metric tonnes of rice per hour.

“We are hopeful to do our best next year,” Ugyen Choidup said.

By Yeshey Dema, Gelephu

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