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Farmer unhappy after FCB takes over Chhuzaggang’s rice mill

Apr 22, 2014

Farmer unhappy after FCB takes over Chhuzaggang-rice millMany farmers in Gelegphu are unhappy after the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) took over Chhuzaggang’s rice mill. The Chhuzaggang Agricultural Farmer’s Cooperative (CAFCO) members say they don’t understand the switch in the ownership, as they have been operating the mill for the last three years.

The rice mill at Chhuzaggang Gewog in Sarpang dzongkhag was taken over by the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) on Sunday. The move comes after an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and the FCB.

As per the agreement FCB will operate the mill for a period of five years.

“I don’t know why it is taken over? Did we fail? It will be difficult for us now because CAFCO being a cooperative, we need the budget and we have 220 members to whom we need to pay share dividend. Our profit margin will definitely go down,” said CAFCO’s Chairman, Lungten Wangdi.

A CAFCO’s Member, Yeshi Wangmo, said they have no alternative but to hand over the mill. “We cannot say whether we ran the mill well or the FCB will do better than us. It was government’s property so we had to give it back.”

FCB’s Regional Manager, Ugyen Chodup, said the rice mill was taken over because CAFCO was not able market on a large scale. “Looking at the record, they didn’t buy more…the members said they couldn’t buy in bulk because of budget constraint. We feel we can do better because FCB facility is in all 20 dzongkhags providing service for years. Not only rice, we will also take over maize or doma wherever there is huge production in all 205 gewogs.”

The FCB also has other plans for the farmers like establishing collection point, loan facility and grocery credit policy that can be repaid after the harvest. Ugyen Chodup said it will help the government to become self reliant and benefit the farmers at large.

The mill has the capacity to produce one and half metric tonnes of rice per hour. Chhuzaggang produces more than 15 varieties of rice.

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