Sufficient vegetables if country goes into lockdown: MoAF

Tshewang Tashi, Dy. Chief of PPD, MoAF said “Under the leadership of the government, we have formed a task force called National Vegetable Management Taskforce (NVMT) who will take care of constant supply of vegetable during the COVID-19 emergency or beyond.”

NVMT will look into from where they will outsource the vegetable, and on how they will distribute among the people. The taskforce is already into action. To make vegetables affordable for those affected by COVID-19, they have put a fair price counter at CFM market in collaboration with private sectors.

He said, “We have mapped the vegetable producing dzongkhags in the country. We are looking at what vegetables to get from where and during what time of the year. We have done thorough discussions with Dzongdas, and we planned that even if there is a lockdown, we should not be having problem in supplying vegetables from our own country.” There are many vegetables in the villages but they are not coming in the market. Farmers can produce and they have the capacity, he said, which is why they have a plan to come up with an App called Druk Soenam Tshongdrel which will help farmers connect with buyers.

“We will get every detail from the farmers through the App. For supply, distribution and sourcing, we have put in place a private sector. The private sector, community center and aggregator will work together,” he added.

He also said that they need to have efficient marketing system in place which can be done through the App. DoA has already worked out on a plan on outsourcing and supply of vegetables for three months.

In addition, he said that they were provided with cold storage for free in Thimphu and Paro by the people who have cold storage units. They have started stocking up on vegetables, he added. Thromdes have planned very efficiently in terms of distribution.

Meanwhile, he said that to minimize the people coming to CFM market to shop, they are putting up vegetables on wheels after series of consultation with the Thromde. The initiative will be launched soon.

He said, “If the production is high within the country, the price will then go down with numbers of competitors. The government will intervene if required and they will not let the farmers go into a loss.”

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