Farmers from around the country are motivated to grow local farm produce to meet the domestic demand, which falls in line with the government initiatives toward food self-reliance.
Vegetable vendors buy the freshly harvested vegetables, in large and small scale, from the farmers at the Centenary Farmers Market (CFM). However, the vendors selling local farm produce in CFM are discontented as they are not provided with the similar services that are provided to vendors selling imported farm produce.
A local vegetable vendor from Hongtsho, Aum Denka, 58, said that the farmers selling the local produce have to carry the vegetables on their back from CFM parking to their allotted stall. She also said the elderly vendors find it difficult to carry the vegetables.
Meanwhile, another vendor, Sangay, from Punakha said that due to lack of storage facility, the farmers have to carry back their unsold products home. This, he said, is a burden for the farmers as they have to pay extra transport charges when they have to close their stalls.
He said that the government should look into the problems that the farmers and vendors face in marketing their products.
Another vendor, Tshering, said that the spacious lower floor at CFM, which is convenient for transportation and with store facility, is provided for vendors that sell imported vegetables and fruits.
He added that in order to encourage farmers to grow more vegetables and limit import, such facilities should be provided to the organic vegetable vendors too.
Most vendors shared that they are charged Nu 250 evenly for occupying the stall for five days, and some vendors sell out their produce within three to four days. “For a farmer, Nu 250 is a big amount,” he said. Hence, many farmers choose to sell their products out in the open space, which fetch them good profit for not having to pay any tax.
He claims that this is not fair and the authorities need to reconsider the current system of collecting equal amount from the vendors. He further said that in order to encourage vegetables vendors to sell local farm produce and to reduce dependence on imports and work towards self-sufficiency, the services in CFM must improve.
According to to CFM official, providing storage to every vendor would be difficult as CFM lacks the space to build more storage. However, he said that CFM has a plan to build few stores soon to ease the current storage problem. The head of CFM who was out of station could not be reached for further comments.