244 Metric Tonnes of fruits and vegetables imported alone for Thimphu since the lockdown
According to the Director General of Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives Ugyen Penjore, vegetable supply is going on well, with the import of vegetables supplemented by local production.
He said that there have been certain hiccups as wholesalers try to reach all the retail shops in the various zones; since retail shops do not order in bulk and their stocks get exhausted fast.
“We have been requesting the retail shops to stock volume adequate for at least two to three days. Though the wholesalers and the retailers have been providing excellent service under difficult circumstances, sometimes profit motives do clash with the government’s goal of ensuring availability and affordability of fruits and vegetables to all,” he said.
He said that winter vegetables have started to arrive at the market, though this is still at an early stage.
“Up till now, 44.56 MT of vegetables including chilli, cauliflower, beans, radish and more than 37,000 bundles of leafy vegetables and over 800 kg of fruits has arrived at Thimphu City alone,” he said.
He added that up till now, since the lockdown, the wholesalers have imported a total of 244MT of fruits and vegetables including potato, onion, tomato, cabbage, peas, eggplant, gourds and carrots.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said that the people are not allowed to move in this lockdown however, farming activities are allowed in their respective fields.
“The restriction is only for movement and people in the village can carry out their regular work in their field as usual,” the Agriculture Minister said.
The Agriculture Minister earlier said that it is the responsibility of the Ministry to make enough stock available in the market and also depending upon the local production the country will import the vegetables.
“As local production increases we will reduce the import and vice versa. We are very hopeful that by beginning of January local supplies will be there in the market. Tomato is already coming and other vegetables in Tsirang and Dagana are also ripening,” the Agriculture Minister said.
Lyonpo said that since the winter vegetable is a first time initiative by the government, lots of work needed to be done to carry out this project.
“We needed land development, input like seeds, and in winter we need water, green houses and the investment is huge, so the preparation task was quiet challenging that’s why it is getting delayed but its all progressing very well,” Lyonpo said.
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