May 1, 2016: Punakha: The Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture and Forests, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji and the Minister for Health, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk inaugurated the Khuruthang Depot cum Farm Shop at Khuruthang in Punakha Dzongkhag.
In his inaugural address, the Health Minister stated that about 70% of our population is dependent on agriculture as their main source of livelihood. Considering its importance, the Royal Government has been making concerted efforts in supporting the sector in all the development plans. Despite many program interventions, the farming communities are constrained by lack of access to quality and reliable farm inputs, poor infrastructure and market access for their farm produce and acute shortage of farm labour. To address these issues, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) has come up with a noble approach “Farm Shop/SanamTshongkhang”, a semi business venture for greater social cause, which will be established in all the 205 geogs.
The infrastructure for the Tshongkhag will be provided by MoAF and the operated by the Food Corporation of Bhutan Ltd (FCBL). The three core functions of the Tshongkhang are:
- Buy Back Guarantee under which farmers are given guaranteed market outlet for their local RNR produce to reduce imports;
- Retail farm inputs (tools, implements, seeds, fertilisers, farm machinery spares and animal feds) and
- Retail basic food and other essential items for easy access at reasonable rates to stabilise price.
The Khuruthang shop has been established by FCBL at a cost of Nu.11.2 million with fund support of Nu.4.5 million from WFP-Bhutan program. Lyonpo further explained to the gathering that the Shop will benefit three Dzongkhags (Punakha, Wangdue and Gasa). It will stock basic food and essential items for supply to the upcoming Farm Shops at geog level and also serve as collection Centre for market oriented RNR products bought by the Farm Shop. He also explained that the Khuruthang facility will in fact help the business in the valley as it will be doing wholesale business and hence requested the representatives from the geogs and Thromde’s to explain to the business community.
With the launch of Khuruthang, there are 49 Farm Shops in operation across the country and we fully hope that this SanamTshongkhang will greatly help the farming communities of benefiting Dzongkhags in marketing their farm produce.
Other dignitaries present at the function were the Hon’ble Members of Parliament for Kabji-Talo Demkhong and National Council Member for Wangdue, Head of WFP-Bhutan Program, Dasho Dzongda, Dasho Drangpon, Superintendent (RBP) and Dasho Dzongrab of Punakha, Dasho Dzongrab and Dzongkhag Tshogdu Chairman for Wangdue accompanied by Thromde Thuemi’s, Dzongkhag and Geog RNR Officials, local government officials and relevant officials from MoAF and FCBL.
Submitted by FCBL
Photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICS
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