English | Dzongkha Sunday, February 23, 2020

‘Yoeseltse Dairy Farmer,’ bracing uncertainty.

Sherub Dorji, Samtse
Jul 11, 2019

Yoeseltse Dairy Farmer, a group in Yoeseltse, Samtse, which produces yoghurt, butter, and cheese, is doing a steady business despite uncertain market since its establishment. The group was established towards the end of last year with financial assistance from the dzongkhag administration.

42 year-old Sonam Choden was among the three who attended a two-week training in yoghurt making at the Rural Development Training Center in Zhemgang, last year. Returning back to Samtse, she approached the dzongkhag for assistance.

“I wrote to the livestock division for yoghurt making machine. They supported and after that, we needed a house to keep the machines, they even supported that. We had no land to construct the house, the livestock division even gave us a government land to work on,” said Sonam Choden, Yoeseltse Dairy Farmer, Samtse.

“When it comes to the budget, the house was constructed by the community contractors. For that, we spent about Nu 650,000. The equipment was expensive ones, we also spent about Nu 650,000 on the equipment,” Karma Dorji, the Livestock Officer for Samtse Dzongkhag said.

 They started production since the 111th National Day celebrations in Samtse, last year. The Yoeseltse Dairy Farmer could make a profit of over Nu 30,000 in June. The business has been steady so far but Sonam worries about milk supply in the Winter.

“These days I do get milk since it is the summer season. Farmers don’t store the milk longer for the fear of turning it sour. They cannot make butter or cheese with sour milk. On top of that, people don’t buy cheese much in the South. That is why we have decided that I will buy milk from them. But I worry about winter when the farmers store the milk to make butter and cheese,” she said.

 Yoeseltse Dairy Farmer functions like a private entity, bearing all profits and losses at the moment, but they have to buy milk from the community group, Yoeseltse Jersey Detshen. In a couple of months, they will start giving a small per cent of the profit to the community group supplying the milk.

“This entity is a part of the community group and if it runs well in the future and if other members of the community group want to run it, we have to give them the opportunity,” she added.

 Despite their production capacity of about 6000 cups of yoghurts a day, the group is just producing about 500 cups. Their market is largely Samtse and on a few occasions Phuentshogling. The dzongkhag plans to facilitate marketing to central schools, high-end hotels, government institutions, and even to the Indian market.

Banks rejecting the group’s application for a priority sector-lending loan have also hampered marketing, as the banks do not support the purchase of a utility vehicle.

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