Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said the government is looking for private partners to establish cold storages in the country.
“We are trying to put this as a public private partnership project, so we are looking for private partners. Private parties are interested and they can invest on their own also, however they want market assurance which in business theory is not correct. So at the moment we are having dialogue with the private sector for the partnership,” the Agriculture Minister said.
Lyonpo said that currently it is not needed since there is already some storage in some places which are underutilized.
“We are not stressing on this pilot project because previous governments have also installed cold storages in some places but it is not functioning. There are also private cold storages installed in Paro, Phuentsholing, Wangdue and they are underutilized thus what we thought was why not get private partnership and help these private storages who have already established this. So at the moment the government can store vegetables in these storages,” Lyonpo said.
Lyonpo also said, “While investing our scarce resources we need to assess carefully and establish things meaningfully. So we are not rushing and doing a careful study. Previously we had zero temperature storages in the country replicated from Nepal. It is in Dagana, Pemagatshel and Zhemgang but these are not being utilized fully, therefore, why make so many white elephants.”
Lyonpo added that it is important for the country to promote food industry and there are many opportunities.
He said in the regional level around three cold storages are required but they cannot be isolated cold storages but it should be clustered with industrial parks so that when there is production they can store it, dry it and powder it and make soups and chips from the farm produce and create employment opportunities for the youth.
“We are hopeful that by June 2021 we have some things to show,” Lyonpo added.
Previously Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering had said that the government has decided to build two cold storage units with multi chambers of 250 metric ton and 300 metric ton capacity worth Nu 17 to 20 million each.