According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, the vegetable price difference created by the middleman has led to people buying imported vegetables because it is cheaper than the local produce.
“Firstly, our vegetable importers should consider and promote local production. Basically, if you go to the source of production, our local vegetables are not expensive. The farmers are not actually getting the benefits that they deserve, and at the same time, our consumers are forced to buy imported vegetables giving them sense that local vegetables are expensive, which actually is not true,” said the Agriculture Minister.
Lyonpo said that the ministry is promoting and encouraging the youth to come up with the fair price shops with different modality of supplying the vegetables and reaching to the consumers.
“Going online and providing home delivery services with fair price can attract the consumer. If this picks up then the local produces will be competitive, and then the consumers knowing that local vegetables are more nutritious and healthy, they will go for the local produce,” Lyonpo said, adding that there are many marketing strategies that can help to promote local production. The ministry has initiated some new mechanisms.
Lyonpo said, “Any policy measures that need to be corrected and changed, will be the responsibility of the ministry to do it. If there is any technical assistance the ministry can provide, and when it comes to financial incentives, we have promoted CSI bank to go as low as possible with the interest rate to encourage people availing loan from it. And we can also encourage the private sector with the infrastructure to facilitate in marketing.”
Lyonpo said that if people want to fetch good production price then they will have to have value addition, such as storage facility to retain or maintain produces for longer period till demands come in.
Meanwhile, Lyonpo said that the ministry is planning to improve the Centenary Farmers’ Market and waiting for the Thromde to approve the space plan.
“The ministry has proposed the space where we are currently selling cereals. We are planning to construct a three-storied building where we will have a storage facility in the underground floor. And the second floor will have a space for organic produces, and on the top floor, we will have all the offices and canteens that we are having just now on the top floor occupying the space where we actually could create the space for our local produces. If Thromde give us the land, we are ready to start our construction by this week. We are ready with the designs and the fund for the construction. We want to modify the structure so that it gets a modern face,” said the Agriculture Minister.