Choki Wangmo | Dagana
With the establishment of the first spice production unit in Dagana, local dzongkhag farmers are basing their hopes on solving turmeric marketing problems.
Farmers have started selling their produce to Daga Adding Masala Unit (DAMU), a local processing unit in Dagapela that makes turmeric powder for national and international markets.
DAMU owner Narath Koirala, 30, said he started the processing unit in 2018 to reduce spice imports and gradually replace imports. âWe operated on a small scale in 2018 and with experience we were working on expanding the unit. “
In the future, he hopes to optimize spice production by increasing youth employment. âTo reduce the risks associated with market volatility and a scarcity of resources, I plan to grow turmeric on five acres of land. “
His company is not yet certified organic.
He said that in the past they faced challenges in marketing products due to lack of proper packaging.
He requested the support of the Department of Agricultural and Marketing Cooperatives to explore the export market.
He said that in recent years, farmers in Dagana have had difficulty selling their turmeric.
To date, he has purchased 25 Metric Tons (MT) of turmeric from Nu farmers 37 per kg.
Last year, the agriculture sector in Dagana, with support from the National Organic Flagship Program, encouraged farmers to grow organic ginger and turmeric as target crops in Tsendagang and Tsangkha gewogs.
The initiative was undertaken to encourage farmers to establish a productive organic farming system and to cultivate on their fallow land.
From 2019 to 2020, the industry focused on growing turmeric on nine-and-a-half-acre land in the two gewogs to produce around 28 tonnes.
However, much remains to be done to reduce the waste of unit resources. For example, there is a need for a storage facility. In Narath Koirala’s firm, turmeric, which has a shelf life of one year, is found stacked on the outside. Young shoots even grew.
According to 2020 trade statistics, although cardamom remains one of the top five products exported by Bhutan to India and Bangladesh, with no commercial production of spices, Bhutan is heavily dependent on imports.
Edited by Tshering Palden