Making Space for Farmers
For small or ‘marginal’ farmers, making a little income out of what they grow is challenging. There are not many channels in which they can sell their products.
53-year-old Pem Zam of Khasakha, who sells fruits and vegetables by the roadside claims that it is his only source of revenue. Many farmers like him depend on such small businesses to sustain their families and to educate their children.
Due to issues with the image of Bhutan, such small farmers are not encouraged to hawk their produce by the roadside. Unless the dzongkhag administration can come up with feasible alternatives, there are not many options available for these farmers. Their livelihood is at stake here.
The dzongkhag administration had issued an order stating that it is forbidden to make a hut using tarpaulin along the highway because it would not look good for VVIPs and other important guests visiting the country.
However, the dzongdag did make it clear that the farmers doing businesses this way pose no traffic problems and the surroundings are kept clean.
The administration would support farmers to sell their agricultural products by looking for viable solutions. There is even a plan to help build sheds along the highway so that farmers can have proper stalls to sell produce from their gardens.
Such initiatives will encourage our farmers to work hard. Regardless of VVIP visits or any other image issues, there is today a need to create markets where our farmers can get a fair deal.
(This article has been edited for the Bhutan Times)