Biggest vegetable marketing hurdle to be resolved

One of the components of the ‘Three Windows Shop’, an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, is to link the marketing of locally produced vegetables from farms in remote areas to potential markets.

The Director, Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives (DAMC), Dorji Dhradhul, said the ‘Three Windows Shop’ was initiated to eradicate the level of poverty. The first window is addressed at selling agriculture inputs, like seeds, seedlings, chicks, piglets, fertilizers, etc., and it will replace the commission agents.

The second window deals with the essential items, like basic hardware, grocery items, fuels, oils, etc. The third window will address the finding of niche markets for the selling of the local vegetables.

The ‘Three Window Shop’ will also educate farmers on the agricultural farming and making agriculture groups among the communities.

At present, the ministry has started the initiative in about three gewogs, Kyilikhar, Lingmethang and Jhomotshangkha. Within six to seven months, the ministry aims to reach the service to eight to nine gewogs.

The DAMC said the initiative might not reach to all the 205 gewogs, as it is not necessary to start such an initiative in some gewogs due to its urban location. But for the gewogs that are in need the service, the ‘Third Window Shop’ will collect vegetable produce from the farmers’ cooperatives to sell it in potential markets.

MoAF has designated the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) to operate the ‘Three Window Shop’. The Director,DAMC said FCB is a government-owned corporation that operates on a marginal profit to cover its running cost, therefore, making good economic sense for both the producers and buyers to do business with such a corporation. FCB is to also give credit facilities to the farmers, and in return, the farmers could pay back in cash or in kind.

The shop is to be run by individuals from FCB where the three initiatives would be within the same infrastructure. For the infrastructure needs, the ministry either plans to use the existing infrastructure wherever possible or build new ones under a budget of Nu 6 mn, or if necessary, to rent private structures which will then raise expenses.

According to DAMC, if an individual is capable and interested to run a ‘Three Window Shop’ guided under the purview of the rules and regulations of the MoAF, then one can do so. However, the farmers’ cooperatives and FCB’s operator have to first come into an agreement on what and how much to produce.

During 10th Five-Year Plan, the ministry had started 35 such type of initiative as ‘One Stop Farmers’ Shop’, but the focus was mainly into selling inputs.

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