Locally-grown fruits struggle to find market

Email

Organic finding ways to be in market

 It’s a rainy weekend in Thimphu. Dark clouds hover in the sky. Shoppers throng the Centenary Farmers Market (CFM).  It is a huge crowd. Sangay Dema, a 35 years old corporate employess, makes sure she visits very nook and corner of CFM. She starts buying organic vegetables and fruits from the top floor of CFM. She scans the length and breadth of the floor and makes her way to the right corner. There are fresh fruits in a bamboo basket. Customer preference is changing. Organic and locally- grown fruits are in high demand.

Sonam look at a basket where there are fresh peaches piled like miniature pagodas. Nu 60 a kilogram is way too expensive. She lets out a slow breath of disappointment.

 “Fruits are expensive, but I prefer local fruits,” she said. She is now in deep dilemma.

Aum Tshering, 52, a vegetable vendor, said peaches and apples are grown on a wide scale in western parts of the country today. Her mouth is red with betel juice. “I brought about 35 kilograms of peaches to sell from Paro,” Aum Tshering said. “One of my cousins there has a plot where he grows only peach and apple.”

Like Aum Tshering’s cousin, many farmers today are venturing into fruit business. And they do it in a large scale. Aum Tshering also sells organically-grown cucumbers. “I have a vegetable garden and I sell cucumbers from my garden.” Cucumbers are Aum Tshering’s favourite and it’s a delicacy, especially at this time of the year. After buying some vegetables from the top floor, Sonam Dema goes downstairs towards the fruits section of CFM.

There, she buys watermelon and mangoes. They are her children’s favourite fruits. She pays Nu 60 for a kilogram of watermelon, and the same for mangoes.There are litchis, grapes, pineapples, apples, oranges and sugarcanes here in this section of CFM.  They are, however, all imported, mostly from India and the US.

A fruit vendor from Punakha, Chuki is 39. She is carrying a child on her back. Chuki said that she doesn’t know where these fruits come from.“We are told that they are brought from India and some from the US,” Chuki said. “We have good supply of imported fruits all the year round and it is mostly bought by people can afford it.”

 Karma Choki, 47, from Hawadara in Tsirang, grows fruits such as papaya, sugarcane, mango and pineapple. She has a stall near her house and sells fruits from there to the travellers. “Growing fruits in a larger scale is not feasible in this weather because most of the fruits rot fast and end up as cow feeds,” Karma Choki said.

But for Padam Lal Nepal from Rangthaling, who has been growing and selling oranges for 30 years, it is a different story. Padam Lal Nepal owns about 300 orange trees. Every fruiting season, he gives his orchard on hire to people who are interested to buy.“Without a cold storage facility, it is difficult to harvest on my own,” he said. “If the government could provide or facilitate us with a cold storage facility, we would prefer to sell in the local market instead of letting other people take fruits outside the country”.

 

“Like vegetable cooperatives, forming fruits cooperatives with certain facilities would help meet demand for fruits in the country,” he said. “Farmers are capable of doing large scale farming, but they do not want to take the risk due to lack of facilities.” A vegetable vendor in Tsirang said that he would prefer to sell imported fruits for their color and durability. “But it’s difficult to sell locally-grown fruits because they perish too soon.”


The Officials from the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) said that despite the time that takes to reach fruit self-sufficiency, there are a good number of fruits that are exported outside the country. “Fruits such as apple and oranges are exported to Bangladesh and India,” officials said. Records with DMC show that last year, about 1,387.4 metric tonnes (MT) of apples worth USD 901,823 were exported to Bangladesh. About 5,385.6 MT of apples worth of USD 3.5 million were exported to India as well. About 26,728 MT of oranges were exported to Bangladesh, which amounts to USD 1.04 M last years. During the same time, about 10,101 MT of oranges were exported to India.
Last year, about 610 MT of cardamoms were exported to Bangladesh, which fetched about USD 1.03 million.

 


Related Posts

The endangered majestic black-necked cranes are highly honoured...

The Bhutanese believe that the cranes were sent from the heavens as avatars of their ancestors.

Nov 25, 2021 12:35

There is a yeti preserve in Bhutan that is bigger than the size...

Wondering whether there are yetis in Bhutan? There is even a corpse!

Oct 21, 2021 11:22

Bhutan is home to one of the most expensive mushrooms in the...

There is even a festival for it, known as the Matsutake Mushroom Festival. There, you’ll get to sample various dishes...

Sep 24, 2021 16:10

Guru Rinpoche, the legendary saint who spread Buddhism in Bhutan

He was born from a lotus, fully enlightened. He went on to become the patron saint of Bhutan and established the Nyingma...

Sep 17, 2021 13:28

Atsara: the Bhutanese clowns who are not just clowns

On top of being clowns, they are also storytellers, spiritual teachers, and the master of ceremony. The bright red mask...

Aug 25, 2021 14:09

How Bhutan changed my life: Evelyn Ong

"There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." – Scott Adams

Aug 24, 2021 15:01

Latest

News

Restoration of Drukgyel Dzong is expected to be completed by June 2022

Drukgyel Dzong is one of the most popular landmarks in Paro.

Nov 18, 2021 13:35

Selling and buying of tobacco products are no longer illegal in Bhutan

Bhutan introduced a new law on tobacco. This new act permits the sales, distribution, buying, possession, and transportation of tobacco or...

Nov 09, 2021 11:23

Features

The endangered majestic black-necked cranes are highly honoured in Bhutan

The Bhutanese believe that the cranes were sent from the heavens as avatars of their ancestors.

Nov 25, 2021 12:35

There is a yeti preserve in Bhutan that is bigger than the size of Singapore

Wondering whether there are yetis in Bhutan? There is even a corpse!

Oct 21, 2021 11:22

Business

Yathra weaving, the uniquely Bumthang culture

Unlike other places in Bhutan, the people of Bumthang don’t do agricultural work. Instead, they weave yathra products. Traditionally, every...

Sep 13, 2021 17:06

What are the entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives available in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese government has introduced all kinds of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. Even school kids are groomed to innovate,...

Jun 22, 2021 16:37

Sports

Bhutan's national women cricket team won ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier 2021 opening match

The United Arab Emirates is currently hosting the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier. The two ICC Academy grounds in Dubai Sports City...

Nov 23, 2021 11:13

Paro FC reclaimed its champion title for BoB Bhutan Premier League 2021

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) Bhutan Premier League 2021, previously known as Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top football tournament in Bhutan...

Oct 02, 2021 19:57

Travel

Bhutan banned mountaineering out of respect for the local spiritual beliefs

While there are many stunning peaks in Bhutan, mountaineering is prohibited in Bhutan.

Nov 29, 2021 11:51

My first Jomolhari Base Camp Trek experience, a journey within and beyond

Find out what to expect on a 5-day Jomolhari Base Camp Trek itinerary

Nov 26, 2021 15:01

Lifestyle

Tshoglhams, the 'colour-coded' traditional boots of Bhutan

The colour of the traditional boots indicates the status of the wearer.

Nov 22, 2021 15:29

What is your birth mewa (birth marks)?

Mewa indicates a karmic relation from life to life.

Nov 16, 2021 14:42

COVID-19

Bhutan was the first South Asian country to vaccinate children against Covid-19

Bhutanese children aged 12 to 19 years old were vaccinated. Immunising the kids was necessary to achieve herd immunity.

Dec 03, 2021 11:20

Bhutan is leading in the vaccination race

“Bhutan is now a beacon of hope for the region, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives and devastated families." - Dr Will...

Jul 28, 2021 12:01

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!