Bhutan will soon have its first bio-fertilizer company at Athang Gewog in Wangdue.
According to Sonam Penjor, Director of National Credit Guarantee Scheme (NCGS) and Board member of Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL), with its unique selling proposition, the company will manufacture certified and quality tested fertilizer products at an affordable price with zero health risk by reusing locally available waste materials. It will export the soil enriched products under “Brand Bhutan.”
He said that FMCL has successfully drawn business link with B & B Korea and the company has planned for initial investment of Nu. 40 mn, and start with about 20 youth employment opportunities in the value chain.
The construction will begin within November 2021, and the production is expected to start by the end of January 2022 covering around 18 acres of land.
The company will be established in Athang gewog in Wangdue Phodrang with the 18 acres being leased by the government.
He said that the company will function at 50% capacity as it exceeds the country’s overall requirement of 40,000 MT of bio-fertilizers per year and it will assist organic farmers and the private sector not just in terms of fertilizer inputs for production, but also in marketing their products outside Bhutan.
“The current real market demand is low and marketing bio fertilizer within the country would be difficult therefore support and cooperation of MoAF will be critical,” he said, adding that international distributers have already expressed the interest in marketing the bio fertilizers in neighboring countries of India and Nepal.
It is expected that the new company will be self sustaining within the year of its operation.
He said, “Why FMCL and not MoAF? Because FMCL, as a state-owned firm, has a reach, as well as a need and access, therefore FCML is strategically positioned to move this joint venture ahead.”
The FMCL’s four regional offices located at Paro, Wangdue, Gelephu and Trashigang and 20 gewogs’ service outlets will offer farming communities an easy access to bio-fertilizers. The FMCL regular services and products had already reached farmers across the country providing them significant benefits.
He added that FMCL for now serves as an investor with fund support from Ministry of Finance as primary shareholder.
“In addition to that it will function as a sole distributor of bio fertilizer in the market within Bhutan. The new company along with the FMCL will support the production of organic composed fertilizer and market their product and company brand,” he added.
The Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor shared that Bhutan has enough raw materials to produce bio-fertilizers, but lacks the technology and experiences in handling the production of organic fertilizers. “The collaboration will be a crucial milestone for the country,” he added.
Representing the B&B Korea Co., Ltd, Daedoo Ko said, “Our effort is to provide nutritious fertilizer and develop advanced fertilizer manufacturing technologies using almost 100% Bhutanese local materials.”
He added that the project will play an important role in Bhutan’s socio-economic development particularly in the agriculture sector.
B&B Korea Co., ltd has expertise in developing eco-friendly products applying biological and natural formulations both at domestic and overseas markets.
The Chief Executive Officer Karma Thinley said that the idea to establish a Bio company was conceived two years ago, and due to the importance of agriculture and the future of agriculture moving to organic, FMCL had various discussions with the ministry about accepting the proposal from B and B Korea.
“It is a well known company in Korea which has the technological capacity and strength within Korea and outside Korea for producing Bio fertilizers and distributing it in various International markets gives us an opportunity to tie up with them and start a small company here in Bhutan,” he said.
Meanwhile, to implement the initiative, the Farm Machinery Corporation Limited (FMCL) and the B&B Korea Co., Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday. The joint venture is a business idea committed to fulfilling the nation’s aspiration of becoming 100% organic in agriculture for assuring safe and nutrition security.