Druna Ghu Cookies (nine indigenous types of grains), a home product, has hit the market. The nine grains; red rice, millet, sweet buckwheat, bitter buckwheat, barley, amaranth, mustard, wheat and maize are used to make the cookies.
However, as of now, Druna Ghu Cookies could only launch the red rice, millet and sweet buckwheat cookies. Nonetheless, within two months time, all the nine items will be on sale in the market.
37-year-old Chimi Dema is the founder of Druna Ghu Cookies. She said that her product is traditional as it uses home grown ingredients. She came up with the business idea to revive the culture of using Druna Ghu.
She said, “In the ancient times, Bhutanese made their living by eating those nine cereals and was independent in terms of sustainability. However, with time and development, the import of goods has increased drastically. Thereby, the choice of people changes with numerous choices.”
Therefore, these had a negative impact on preserving Druna Ghu in the country, she said, adding that now the culture of using Druna Ghu while performing any rituals has also gone down.
“Today when a person is asked to bring Druna Ghu for a ritual, they go, buy the imported rice, dal, etc. This surely indicates that we are losing old practiced culture. And this is worrisome. I did a survey and found 6 to 7 items of imported biscuits in every shop,” she added.
She then decided to come up with a home-produced biscuits which can keep the culture of using Druna Ghu alive and also to reduce the number of imported biscuits.
The biscuit factory is located at Dawakha in Paro. It was established with support from the Loden Foundation, she said, adding that the foundation was the first to encourage her to come up with such an initiative.
“Without Loden Foundation, we would have not be standing here presenting our products. I have spent around 15 lakhs (Nu 1.5 million) in total for the construction and we are four in total, working for the product,” she added.
She said that they have not undergone training as such for the processing. But they attended a one-day training at the National Post Harvest in Paro.
During the day long training, she said, “I took 1 kg of buckwheat. And after that, with my own interest, I have started the product.”
In addition, she said that she has a keen interest in making biscuits, and that is why she basically started learning things since 2015. “It was just that I did not have the platform to implement my idea and interest. Now that I have one, I will put my heart and soul into it,” she said.
Chimi Dema has yet to work on the marketing aspect of the product as it was only launched on 17 October during the opening session of second Druk Tshongrig Gatoen (GTA) in Thimphu.
There are plans to reach larger markets in the years to come. For now, they are selling the Druna Ghu Cookies at Nu 300 (retail) per box and Nu 250 (wholesale) per box. And each box comes in 300 gm.
She said, “People complimented me after tasting my products, and I am happy that I got lots of positive feedback right after the launch. But people shared that the price is quite high.” However, she said that they have no options but to set the price high as they have loans to pay back, and for the sustainability of the company.
“I feel that the amount is worth paying as the product can satisfy the customers at the best. In future, if everything goes well and if support continues, then I have plans to further extend the company, keep the culture of Druna Ghu alive and create more employment opportunities. If possible, I will target for international market,” she added.