Locally-grown fruits struggle to find market

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

What People Are Saying About The Finale Episode Of Anthony...

It was a bittersweet season finale for the late Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown.

Jun 25, 2018 14:45

63 Year Old Traditional Healer In Bhutan Has Fixed More Than A...

For more than three decades, Tashi Wangdi has been fixing fractures and sprained joints in Trashigang.

Jun 23, 2018 08:43

Tsirang’s Farmers Grow Broom Grass To Combat Landslide

Coinciding with the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, the Tsirang forest division planted at...

Jun 21, 2018 18:26

International Archives Day Highlights The Importance Of...

There are about 30 documents at the library’s exhibition that include gold written scripts, which date back to the 13th...

Jun 17, 2018 17:51

Biggest Achievement For The 11th Plan Is Happiness In Bhutan

The biggest achievement of the last five years is that people are happy.

Jun 14, 2018 15:38

Tsirang Initiates A Ban On Plastic Bags While Encouraging The Use...

The dzongkhag administration has agreed to set up a stall where vendors and customers can buy biodegradable bags and...

Jun 12, 2018 15:48

Latest

News

Bhutan Lifts Ban On Rupee Note, Advises Against Holding Indian Currency In Cash

Bhutanese can now bring new series of INR 500 notes in and out of Bhutan.

Jun 20, 2018 15:17

Bhutan Joins Seeds Without Borders To Import Better Quality Seeds

The seed agreement covers a number of rice-based crops such as maize, wheat, vegetables, pulses and other crops.

Jun 18, 2018 17:40

Features

What People Are Saying About The Finale Episode Of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Bhutan

It was a bittersweet season finale for the late Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown.

Jun 25, 2018 14:45

63 Year Old Traditional Healer In Bhutan Has Fixed More Than A Thousand Sprains And Fractured Bones

For more than three decades, Tashi Wangdi has been fixing fractures and sprained joints in Trashigang.

Jun 23, 2018 08:43

Sports

World Cup Mania Grips Some Teenagers, Adults And Monks In Bhutan

A huge crowd has gathered in front of the massive TV screen to witness the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Jun 24, 2018 18:25

Bhutanese Sonam Rigzin Played As Goalkeeper For His Team ‘King Cobra’ In The F4F World Championship In Russia

Sonam Rigzin walked into the Sapsena Arena in Russia bearing the Bhutanese national flag to open the finals.

Jun 16, 2018 08:45

Business

Dairy Farmer In Bhutan Sells Jersey Cow Milk Which Yields Good Profits

Sonam has four cross jersey cows, three of which are milking and he is able to sell more than 30 litres of milk every day.

Jun 25, 2018 09:11

Interview With Bhutan Alternatives: A Social Enterprise Which Recycles Printer Cartridges

The firm also employed 17 female and 13 male employees from underprivileged families and high school dropouts.

Jun 22, 2018 10:55

Travel

Six Senses Bhutan Preparing For October 2018 Opening

Three of the five Six Senses luxury lodges are now taking reservations for travel starting on Nov 3, 2018.

Jun 21, 2018 10:01

Heat Maps Illustrate the Sacred Routes of Buddhist Pilgrims

In Strava’s heat maps, the devotional movements of tired pilgrims become blazing symbols of sacred geography.

Jun 18, 2018 09:32

Lifestyle

‘Do You Know Your Child’ A Popular Show In Bhutan Helps Parents Bond Better With Their Kids

Since its inception in 2013, about 264 Bhutanese children have participated in the show.

Jun 20, 2018 18:43

Mountain Echoes Literary Festival Returns On Aug 23 - Here's Why You Should Attend

This year's festival celebrates 50 years of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India.

Jun 15, 2018 00:32

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!