Thromde and MoAF to identify strategic locations for street vendors

Illegal vendors will see their vegetables being confiscated

Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee said that street vendors selling vegetables or any food items on the street without a legal business license will be deemed illegal.

“If one passes by the street in Norzin lam, one may notice people selling vegetables by opening their businesses right on the doorstep of legitimate shops. These are the farmers from Centenary Farmer’s Market (CFM) who have come to sell their vegetables thinking that if they sell their produce in town people would prefer to buy from them instead of going to CFM,” said the Thrompon.

He added that the street vending is not new in Thimphu and that people were selling vegetables and other food items on street despite numerous attempts by the Thromde to stop it.

“Thromde inspector recently informed street vendors that they are not allowed to sell vegetables on street but they would not even listen. So we have decided that if we see any illegal vendors selling vegetables on the street, we will take away their vegetables and give it to those in need.” A shopkeeper opined that selling vegetables in front of their shops on the streets raises the issue of sanitation and hygiene, and moreover makes the town look dirty.

The Thrompon said, “Those vendors think we are taking away their businesses and income but we want them to know that selling of vegetables on street is not allowed because if we allow, more people will come to sell their produce and soon there will be no space for people to walk on the streets and people might have to start walking on roads which is not safe.”

Although street vendors feel they are making an income for themselves, they fail to realize that they are causing inconvenience to the public, added the Thrompon.

“Vendors need to obtain license from trade and they’ll have a legal place to trade in. we will be clamping down on those traders as they are illegal and an eyesore.”

The agriculture minister’s view on street vending

The agriculture minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjore said, “To encourage our farmers not to sell their farm produces on street, the Ministry of Agriculture and Thimphu Thromde will identify strategic locations where they can sell their vegetables.”

Lyonpo said, “Though the farmers are doing their businesses without a license, we cannot call them illegal vendors. They are selling their produce on street because they do not have a proper place to sell their produce.”

Lyonpo also said, “CFM is meant for farmers but today our farmers does not have access to CFM because the spot is taken away by middle man or local vegetable vendors who is neither licensed businessman nor the farmer.  The Ministry of Agriculture will now regularize the ownership of stalls in CFM so that our farmers don’t have to sell their vegetables on the street.”

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