The recent fever of rupee problem has enacted the Ministry of Agriculture to boost domestic vegetables, focusing temperate regions (Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Chukha, Trongsa, Bumthang) in summer and sub-tropical regions (Wangdue, Punakha, Tsirang, Sarpang, Sjongkhar, Samtse) in winter. Well the sad thing is that we heard winter farmers are having serious problem in marketing, they are not able to sell their vegetables in Thimphu market which is the biggest market in Bhutan due to the competition from the border vegetables which are cheap. The MoAF should immediately survey the availability of the domestic vegetables and either stop import of selected vegetables or levy heavy tax. The tax collected could be pumped into our farmers as subsidy for transportation. DAMC should find out the middle man or carry on themselves to buy vegetables from these growers and supply to the retailers rather than just mediating growers and retailers. Why can’t govt invest this much (transaction cost) to support our farmers? The Auction system will not work since small volume are excluded. Does MoAF have got appropriate stores in CFM? They must have cold storage, warehouse in place immediately. If want to use auction yard till cold stores are in place, they must announce to bring the product by Thursday and on the same day can sell to various retailers. If this is not done urgently farmers are going to get very bad setback. DAMC Marketing Div needs to play active role or MoAF is going be in hot soup.
I would like to congratulate the Department of Agriculture team led by the Director General for producing winter vegetables. I think if there is a will there is a way. Production of vegetables does not require rocket science technology : what is required is will power and drive from the Administration especially from the Head and his team and more important it needs cooperation from farmers. The present winter vegetables available in the market goes to show that all these positive ingredients are there which is why we are able to produce winter vegetables. Now the next thing is that DAMC must facilitate and help farmers to sell vegetables. And the government should continue support DoA to produce vegetables year around.
its good that you stress that we farmer and moa needs will , i had seen that will from long time back from dasho nishoka time on words when bonday farm is cultivating new breeds.
loop hole is not only that. we still don’t have agriculture bank to solve the financial worries to our poor farmer , if there is bank who can give low interest rate for poor farmer.then there is too many formalities to meet the by poor farmer. that bank will never loan without mortgage, when many farmer don’t even have 1 acer land registered in there name,only rich owns more land where there is water there is rain too, those land are just remaining idle and use in many banks and loan is use for other business, not for cultivation of vegetable , its your miss perception that growing plants dose-not required rocket science technology, to me it really needs skills and technology to come up with product. other wise virus, weeds and other pest will also hamper on production, please stop blind faith or one plant can spoil whole nation plants , what ever leaving thing do need care for proper growth, when one phenomena of chemical in soil can make edible to non edible, just growing will not improvise market trends, so i request you to comment carefully to save our other plants life too , so we have to work technically with will,
DAMC would like to acknowledge and thank the participants for being concerned on winter vegetable marketing and for the suggestions being made and also acknowledge the efforts being put in by DoA in producing the winter vegetables. DAMC shares the concern of the participants if severe problem as mentioned by the participant exist in marketing of winter and would like to take the comments very positively and do everything possible to resolve any marketing constraints. DAMC would, however, like to clarify that so far the Department has not received any reports on such serious problem from the Dzongkhags. The few quantities of surplus produces of Beans and Cabbage from Sarpang and Samtse brought to CFM during recent weeks has been sold in CFM Thimphu Market. DAMC is constantly in touch with the Dzongkhags through focal persons and problems in the field are being regularly attended. For information DAMC would like to clarify on what is being done so far to assist farmers in Dzongkhags market their winter vegetables:
>As suggested by the participants DAMC is already working with a so called middle man but for us – this entity is “marketing facilitator” for trading between growers and retailers. Fresh Veg, is currently already in the winter vegetable producing Dzongkhags acting as collector and middle dealer.
>DAMC has been assisting sale of whatever surplus produce from the Dzongkhags arriving at CFM. The recent produces from Sarpang and Samtse mainly beans and cabbage are being assisted and sold in Thimphu markets.
>DAMC has mediated growers and retailers in the past to help establish direct linkage between growers and retailers and reduce market chain.
>DAMC has already designated staff for each dzongkhags and they are already travelling to the field to assist Dzongkhag colleagues market their winter vegetables.
Ban of import vegetables as suggested by some participant is not possible due to many good and obvious reasons.
DAMC as backstopping agency with limited manpower can only facilitate and support marketing and shares the view that issue of marketing is not alone of DAMC and expects equal role to be played by many stakeholders particularly our extension colleagues (DAOs and Gewog EAs) who are well represented in the field and so even if they claim that do not know anything about marketing they have to play their marketing role because leaving everything to DAMC will not be only unwise but also not at all practical. DAMC is, however, committed to do whatever possible to assist farmers and extension colleagues in Dzongkhags to market our locally produced vegetables and it is indeed a collective effort not only DAMC and DoA but the whole nation.
When i say that vegetables growing does not require rocket science technology i really mean it because i understand what kind of technologies go to grow vegetables. For readers information, vegetables have been grown since beginning of human civilization although at different scale and with differing cultivation practices. With modern methods, it is possible to grow vegetables even without soil medium. What is needed is continuous flow and supply of liquid nutrients solution. Of course, when pests outbreaks occur we need to control them with various means, but not always and necessary with pesticides. One reaon why we encourage local vegetables production is that we should eat fresh pesticides free vegetables compared to those imported that are laden with pesticides. I agree that low interest loan for farmers must be made available but this has been discussed several times but without any meaningful action from the Banks and the government. I also agree that most of land belong to rich people but rich people are not cultivating land themselves. Land is given for share cropping and share croppers are free to use land which ever way they want. The other solution is lease government land for commercial vegetables cultivation but this is easier said than done. There are several formalities to be fulfilled before government land land is available for growing vegetables. When i mentioned “will power” i basically mean that government should study feasibility of low interest farmers loan; lease government land; and improve marketing aspects and implement these measures seriously so that we can become self sufficient in vegetables. Last but not the least, i would like to compliment DAMC for being proactive in marketing winter vegetables. DAMC is mandated to carry out this function and i am sure, with will power, DAMC can do it.
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