A youth cooperative has better luck with vegetables

Though it may not have had much success in the volatile egg business in the pilot auction yard in Thimphu so far, Youth Business Cooperative (YBC) has had some success stories, in terms of marketing vegetables at a cheaper price, providing a door-to-door service for supply of vegetables, and making way for youth employment opportunity.

YBC is helping many small-scale vegetable farmers by collecting the farm produce from their doorsteps, and thereby, reducing transportation cost significantly.

After a year of its inception, YBC has been able to establish an organized marketing system for the vegetable growers in the country and links with the market through YBC stores and collection centers.

YBC’s effort, in linking farmers in the villages as a supplier, has received positive interest from farmers since they are able to sell what they produce. According to YBC, such an intervention was driven by the need to minimize the huge quantity import of vegetables into the country. YCB also aims to boost domestic production of vegetables, in line with the commercial vegetable production initiated by Department of Agriculture (DoA).

Chairman, YBC, Yeshey said that the cooperative has been successful in fulfilling their objectives of bringing down the cost of vegetables and boosting local produce, and helping farmers. YBC has plans to extend its business and open farmers’ outlets in urban areas in all 20 dzongkhags. The cooperative keeps a marginal profit while operating its business.

YBC also provides support in marketing farm products, like Tsirang’s dallay pickles, bamboo shoot pickles, honey, buckwheat and millet flours, and the promotion green tea, Druk Samchholing, produced in Trongsa. YBC has also encouraged farmers’ groups to market and supply vegetables to schools and institutions.

“Farmers started showing interest in marketing even a small volume of vegetables that they produce, and YBC has been selling the vegetables at a very reasonable price, much cheaper to those farm produces selling at Centenary Farmers’ Market,” Yeshey said.

As of now, farmers from Haa, Paro, Tsirang, Sarpang and Punakha supply fresh vegetables and other local produce to YBC.

Yeshey pointed out that as a new cooperative, YBC requires support from different stakeholders to maximize its potential and reach. He said that the government and financial sector should believe in the youth cooperative, and use them as an agent of change.

YBC is registered under the Cooperative Act of Bhutan. It started vegetable marketing as their core business in Thimphu in 2014 and has employed 25 youth.

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