Not all dairy farming businesses in Lhuentse are tasting success. Of the total four dairy farms in the district, two are battling to stay afloat. They are challenged by the lack of adequate pastureland, poor marketing opportunities, and financial woes among others.
39-year old Tashi Dendup had quit the desk job and returned to his village in Maedtsho Gewog in 2020, a year that marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Late that year, he opened a dairy farm in Omchu that was once developed as a pilot project for youth to take up commercial agriculture.
This entrepreneurial dream of his was materialised with some financial support from the agriculture ministry’s Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Program (CARLEP).
“I came back to my village and opened a dairy farm to encourage and set an example to other aspiring youths in the village. But doing a business has many challenges and it is not certainly a cakewalk,” narrated Tashi Dendup.
When he initially started dairy operations, he had high hopes of making a good living. However, today with dimming hopes, he has hung onto the business to save his livelihood.
He earns an income of only Nu 7,000 per month and that is not enough to repay the monthly loan instalment of Nu 20,000.
His dairy farm of ten cattle including five dairy breeds is not producing the desired quantity of milk and other dairy products due to the shortage of fodder.
Marketing challenges, water scarcity and less ceiling amount of farm loans are also plaguing the dairy farm. Another dairy farming business in Maenbi Gewog has a familiar story.
“The National CSI Bank gives us a loan in a phase-wise manner which slows the establishment of our business. Also, the ceiling amount is less and that isn’t much of help for our business,” shared another, a dairy farmer in Maenbi Gewog, Thinley Jamtsho.
Considering all these problems, the District Livestock Sector said they will engage all the relevant agencies and address the issues. The sector further said they will initiate growing fodder in abundance to meet the demands of the dairy farmers in Lhuentse.
For now, two struggling dairy businesses there have to do everything within their means to keep their business up and running.
Sonam Tshering, Monggar
Edited by Pema Lhaden