Results in high end hotels procuring less

Inconsistencies in the real produce bought against the demand reflected in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was one of the challenges experienced during the first year of marketing Gasa’s organic farm group to high-end hotels in Thimphu.

Issues on difficulty in transportation and less knowledge on grading, packaging, and labelling also arose during a buyers and sellers meet in Thimphu on February 15.

Gasa dzongkhag’s assistant agriculture officer, Choeki Wangchuk, said that there was a gap in the production and marketing of products. “An MoU was signed on February 9 last year between the organic farm group and 11 hotels for marketing the products.”

He said that of the 40,000kg of potatoes produced last year, hoteliers bought only about 9,000kg. Of the 5,700kg of carrot produced, only about 2,750kg were sold to the hotels, and about 1,780kg were bought out of the 2,700kg of garlic produced.

The rest were kept for seeds, sold to Laya, Khamoed, Punakha and Wangdue.

Although the programme was profitable for farmers, the dzongkhag incurred a loss of over Nu 50,000, he said.

A member of the organic farm group, Kinzang Thinleymo, said it was difficult to deliver vegetables once a week to Thimphu, especially during monsoon. “We had to arrange vehicles every week. It gets difficult at times to deliver the vegetables due to lack of a vehicle.”

Choeki Wangchuk said that bill payment was not made on time, and the supply of these three vegetables coincided with the lean season of the hotels. “We would appreciate if hoteliers could suggest the requirement of vegetables so that there won’t be gaps in the requirement and supply.”

He said there are plans to diversify and cultivate other vegetables in addition to the three products. “This would also give hoteliers choices and help make a complete dish or a meal out of organic produce.”

It was decided that a MoU would be signed after fixing the agreed prices for the products within this month.

Gasa dzongdag Dorji Dradhul said farmers were inexperienced on grading, packing and labelling. “However, from this year, only good quality produce would be supplied. We will concentrate on serious grading and sorting.”

Representatives from Fu Lu Shou, Pedling hotel, Chuniding Foods, Terma Linca, Ariya Hotel, Tashi Yoedling hotel, Galingkha hotel, Taj Tashi, Ro-Chog-Pel hotel, attended the meeting.

Rinchen Zangmo