As part of the vegetable production and marketing plan to gear Bhutan toward self-sufficiency in vegetables, the Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperation (DAMC) is facilitating producers with major buyers and linkages.
It also provides market information to build up sustainable long term market relations.
The six eastern dzongkhags of Trashigang, Mongar, Trashiyangtse, Lhuentse, Samdrup Jongkhar and Pemagatshel were identified for mass production of Onion during winter season.
However, the farmers have been encouraged to produce vegetables in small scale for their own consumption since the farmers cannot compete with the imported vegetables in terms of quality and price.
“Winter season in the immediate border area produces plenty of vegetables,” Marketing Councilor with the DAMC, Bhim Rag Gurung said. He said that the imported vegetables flood the market during winter with cheaper prices and the consumers prefer to buy imported vegetables only.
According to the Marketing Councilor when the imported vegetables are being sold at minimum price the local produces find it difficult to compete. He also said that the consumers still prefer imported vegetables due to cheaper price and the abundance of the imported vegetables.
“We do not render similar support to the farmers to produce winter vegetables,” Bhim Rag Gurung said. This according to him is due to the lack of competency to offer local vegetables at the similar price with the imported ones.
In the east most of the institutions have a pre-contract with the local vegetables suppliers, who consistently supply local vegetables and up to now about 43 farmers groups and institutions clustered and signed agreement to purchase vegetables. The farmers have to be motivated/educated to take-up commercial vegetables cultivation rather than practice subsistence cultivation.
The officials have started with the assessment of vegetable production in various dzongkhag and found out that some Dzongkhags in the low-lying areas are able to produce vegetables for the winter season to meet the domestic needs. “We encourage farmers to market their produce within their own locality and dzongkhags,” the official with the DAMC said.
Dagana during the winter season can produce Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Mustard, Green, Beans, Tomato, Carrot, Chili, Brinjal, Peas, Radish, Chayote, Ginger, potato, Onion, Dry Beans, Moong dal.
“We have started with the assessment of winter vegetable production in Dagana and will continue in Wangdue,” focal persons with DAMC Pema Tamang said. She added that the winter vegetables like Cabbage, Ginger, potato and cauliflower can be produced at a large scale.
About 63.3 MT of cabbage, 13.8 MT of cauliflower, 15.5 MT of Ginger and 11.5 MT of Potato will be produced from Dagana from January till April this year. Vegetables like Broccoli, Beans, Radish and Spinach are comparatively low in production and farmers cannot maintain consistency in supply of these local vegetables in large quantities.