The early birds from Gelephu and Burichu buy in bulk from farmers leaving little for the locals 

Agriculture: Just as dawn breaks, Damphu vegetable market becomes a hive of activity each Sunday.

Vegetable vendors from Burichu and Gelephu rush for the fresh organic vegetables that farmers in Tsirang bring to the market and even before the sacks are opened, the vegetables are sold.

Residents near the vegetable market say that some customers come on Saturday night and sleep in their cars to buy vegetables from the first farmers that reach the market.

One of the customers, Lhendup, 32 from Burichu said wakes up at 3am to buy the vegetables, which are later sold at his mother’s outlet along the Tsirang-Thimphu highway.

“If we don’t come early, those from Gelephu and Burichu would not even leave a bundle of spinach,” he said.

He said that this practice of vendors rushing to the boleros of farmers to grab as much as they can has been going on for the last six years. Farmers don’t get a chance to display their produce and even before they know, their trade for the day by the roadside is over.

Meanwhile, Damphu residents always felt that the farmers never turned up to sell their vegetables.

A private employee Sonam said he goes to the market around 7am hoping that he would get some fresh vegetables.

“But we were not aware of customers coming from far and taking away most vegetables before they reach the market,” he said, adding that many residents are forced to return home empty-handed.

Another vendor, Man Maya who comes from Gelephu said she buys off all the spinach and other vegetables from farmers in Tsirang because it is easier to sell in Gelephu.

“People in Gelephu come rushing to my vegetable shed as they know that I bring them from Tsirang, which is considered organic,” she said.

A farmer from Kilhorthang in Tsirang, Zangmo Sherpa said it is easier for them to sell their vegetables in bulk as they wouldn’t have to display in the market and wait for local customers.

“Our work gets over in few minutes when we get the customers coming from Burichu and Gelephu,” she said.

Yeshey Dema, Tsirang