Retailers, on the other hand, are happy to do without their unfair competition
Draft Agreement How do you dispose of surplus vegetables, after the supply to retailers has been met?
This is the biggest concern of wholesale vegetable vendors in the capital, now that a draft agreement is in place that disallows wholesalers from retailing.
According to the draft agreement drawn up on January 24 by DAMC, department of trade (DoT) and department of revenue and custom (DRC) and vegetable vendors, wholesalers will not be allowed to retail.
“The department of agricultural marketing and cooperatives (DAMC) is saying that we’re not supposed to retail leftover vegetables,” Ap Tshering Norbu, who has been a vegetable wholesaler for 28 years, said. “If we aren’t allowed to retail the leftovers, then is the government going to buy the surplus?”
The draft agreement also requires wholesalers to get a trading license. “We need a license for wholesalers to mainly clear the disputes between the wholesaler and retailer, and to enhance local production”, the manager of the centenary farmers market (CFM), Tshering Dorji, said. “Retailers aren’t comfortable to go against the wholesalers, since they have to depend on them but, when wholesalers retail, they become helpless.”
A retailer, Sonam, said wholesalers occupy the vendors’ stall, and indirectly compete with retailers selling the same imported vegetable at a cheaper price.
A wholesaler explained that they are compelled to retail the leftover vegetables, because it is a perishable item.“We normally sell the surplus at the same price quoted by the retailers, but maybe some sell it at a cheaper price,” he said.
According to the draft agreement, business income tax (BIT) will be levied on wholesalers dealing in imported vegetables.
The DAMC is still working on the list of vegetables to be imported. Garlic, onion, tomato and small chili are some vegetables that are not readily available in the country,
Trade director Sonam Wangchuk said wholesalers should own a license, since they are well established in the business.
DAMC wants wholesalers to promote local vegetable production, so that self-sufficiency in vegetables is attained in the next few years.
According to the Bhutan Trade Statistics (2010) the import volume in 2010 was 9,016 MTof a value of Nu 111M. Export volume was 972 MT of a value of Nu 11 M.