Chhimi Dema

Phub Dorji from Wangdue couldn’t sell his garlic for weeks.

“I took it to the Centenary Farmers’ Market in Thimphu but I still struggled to sell it,” he said.

But his struggle did not last long. After two months, he sold the produce to Sibjam and got Nu 29,000. Like him, three farmers in his village sold garlic to Sibjam and fetched about Nu 0.13 million in total.

Sibjam is a marketplace that connects over 1,500 farmers, eliminating the role of middlemen. It gives the middlemen’s cut to the farmers.

Sibjam’s founder, Kinley Wangchuk, said that Sibjam is a trading platform that allows wholesale purchase of farm produce.

“We are trying to create an information system showing both supply and demand for produce,” he said.

This will allow farmers and buyers to make decisions regarding value addition during surplus production and help make policy decisions, he added.

The platform is in the process of collecting data from farmers on produce grown and harvested. It also shows live market rates for the produce at Centenary Farmers’ Market.

“Farmers do not know where to sell their produce, and transportation is costly,” Kinley Wangchuk said. “Sibjam collects produce from farmers at no cost to them.”

The platform will have a report generating system which will show what produce and how much an individual has bought.

Farmers or buyers can register on its website.

The platform was funded by the Loden Foundation, sponsored by the Bhutan Foundation with support from US Aid.

The platform was launched yesterday during the week-long Druk Tshongrig Gatoen festival at CSI Market.

The festival was first started in 2018 to celebrate and promote emerging entrepreneurship culture in the country.

The festival was organised coinciding with Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 8 to 12.