English | Dzongkha Thursday, August 16, 2018

Improved prices revive lemon grass oil extraction business

Tshering Zam, Trashigang
Aug 10, 2018

The increase in the price of lemon grass oil has helped revive oil extraction business in Monggar. A kilogram of lemon grass oil now fetches Nu 1,300, which is higher by Nu 200 from the earlier price.

35-year-old Karma from Dramedtse Gewog in Monggar is busy working at his lemon grass oil extraction site. Along with  three other friends, he took up the business again after a gap of few years.

“Earlier, I did the work for two to three years but stopped since it was not profitable. I started it again this year but I am not sure how profitable it will be.”

Like Karma, many others in the village gave up lemon grass oil extraction business as it entails a lot of hard work, while returns were not so attractive.

“We started extracting lemon grass oil again since the price of the oil has increased,” Pema, one of the farmers, said.

Extracting the oil is not an easy task.

Farmers have to work tirelessly in the scorching heat, harvesting the grasses.  It is then stuffed into a container and heated for a few hours after which the oil is extracted.

“Extracting the oil is difficult. We need firewood and have to go far away to fetch water. For now, Bio Bhutan has given us pipes on cost sharing basis. They even provide us with cash advances,” Karma said.

It is difficult to get workers for cutting the grasses,” Pema said.

There are a lot of challenges involved but the good thing is they do not have to worry about the market. What ever they produce is bought by Bio Bhutan, an enterprise, which specializes in producing natural and organic certified products from raw materials supplied by farmers.

Lemon grass oil is used to make various  products such as sprays and soaps.

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