English | Dzongkha Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Bjoka local’s bamboo craft business flourishes

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang
Mar 5, 2018

Medhey Thuendrel Tsarzoo Tewa, a bamboo craft business in Sonamthang in Panbang is doing brisk business.

42-year-old Rinchen Wangdi from Bjoka set up the business in 2014 with support from the Queen’s Project and Rural Enterprise Development Corporation Limited (REDCL).

He is thought to be the first person from lower kheng to start a bamboo craft business.

Despite the abundant bamboo resources and the craft being native to people there, hardly anyone has taken up bamboo craft business as full time job.

Many weave bamboo products during leisure time or while guarding fields and herding cattle.

“It’s something that’s been there since out forefathers’ time but not many are interested in continuing with it.” Rinchen Wangdi said.

“If people show interest, the craft can earn them living.”

From snack containers to traditional Bangchus and baskets, Rinchen Wangdi’s craft house specializes in about eleven different types of bamboo products.

There is no dearth of customers, he says. In fact, the craft house struggles to keep up with the growing demand.

He even exports some of his products with orders pouring from Nepal and China.

“There is a product called baykur that is a favorite among buyers from outside Bhutan,”Rinchen Wangdi said.

“They are much sought after by customers from China, Nepal and Tibet. They want thousands of it but we cannot supply that much because we lack manpower and capacity for mass production.”

Rinchen’s monthly earnings come to around 80 to 90 thousand ngultrum.

Apart from running the business, Rinchen devotes some of his time teaching the craft to out of school youths and students during school holidays.

He also provides employment opportunities. At present, he has recruited seven young people.

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