Smoked Gouda Cheese And Other Premium Dairy Products In The Pipeline For Koufuku

Koufuku International aims to produce premium dairy products which is of export quality.

Koufuku International is a joint FDI venture between DHI Bhutan and SNBL Japan. (Source: Facebook/Koufuku International Ltd)

 

By Younten Tshedup | Kuensel 

As the quality of its milk improved, Koufuku International Limited (KIL), a dairy processing plant at Chenary in Trashigang has set its sight on producing premium dairy products.

According to KIL officials, the plant’s stirred Swiss-style yoghurt which was produced for the first time this month has received positive feedback from the local market. 

Background of the KIL

A FDI joint venture between Druk Holding & Investments (DHI) and Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories Limited (SNBL), Japan, Koufuku International Limited was established in March 2015 in Trashigang as a dairy processing plant in Bhutan.

 

Source: Facebook/kiplbhutan

The objective is to commercialise the operation of the dairy processing unit on a long term sustainable model. The project aims to provide farmers with a reliable and convenient outlet for their dairy produce thereby improving their quality of life.

Plans to produce at least four different types of premium pro-biotic yoghurt

The CEO, Ugyen Dendup said that the company is in the process of producing at least four different types of premium pro-biotic yoghurt. The yoghurt will be available in various fruit flavours that will be grown locally by farmers.

The Renewable Natural Resource Research and Development Centre in Wengkhar, Mongar has identified a group of farmers in Kanglung to grow strawberries for the dairy plant. 

Ugyen Dendup said that the plant plans to produce around 5,000 to 10,000 cups of yoghurt a day and that would require at least 150kg of strawberries a week.

“We would be producing four different flavours of yoghurt every day,” he said. “Our products will use only local products and at the same time maintain international standards.” 

Besides the company’s initial premium product, Gouda cheese, KIL is also exploring means to diversify its products without replicating what the local farmers are already producing.

“We do not want to compete with the farmers but instead we want to improve their livelihood by adding value to their milk.”

The company would slowly stop producing products such as cottage cheese, butter and other locally produced dairy products.

Focus on producing export quality premium dairy products

“Now that we are receiving better quality milk, we can concentrate on producing premium products that would be of export quality.” 

Products such as pasteurised and salted butter along with whey health drinks have received positive feedback from the local market, claimed Ugyen Dendup.

“The salted-butter is in high demand in Thimphu but we are unable to meet the demand since we are also engaged in producing other products at the same time.” 

The company is in discussion with the Bhutanese airline companies to replace the imported dairy products in their inflight meals.   

KIL is also exploring means to produce smoked Gouda cheese. “Gouda is good for health as it is believed to prolong lives due to its perfect protein and fat ratio content,” he said. 

Sources of milk supply for KIL

Besides the improved quality of milk, the quantity of the milk supplied to the company has also increased. The company is currently working with nine farmer’s milk groups, three private and a public dairy farm in Trashigang. In addition, more than 200 households also supply milk to the company. 

Around this time last year, KIL was only functioning at 12 percent of its full capacity. The plant received about 450 litres of milk a day then. 

Today, the plant is running at about 45 percent of its full capacity. It receives around 1,800 litres of milk daily. The CEO said that the company aims to function at 50 percent of its capacity by the end of the year.  

KIL spends around Nu 2.2 million monthly to purchase milk. “The improvement in both the quality and quantity of milk has increased the money we injected into the local economy every day.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 


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