English | Dzongkha Friday, June 18, 2021

FCBL incurred a loss of more than Nu 100 M from Farm Shops in the last four years

Jun 11, 2021

The Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) incurred a loss of more than Nu 100 M from farm shops in the last four years. Agriculture and Forests Minister Yeshey Penjor revealed this at the National Assembly, today.

Presenting the Review Report on Farm Shops at the National Assembly, Lyonpo said that from 2016 to 2020, the FCBL has suffered a loss of almost Nu 104 M from various farm shops across the country.

“In 2017, FCBL incurred a loss of Nu 15 M. Likewise, there was a Nu 29 M loss in 2018. In 2019, the loss came to about Nu 31 M. And in 2020, FCBL incurred a loss of more than Nu 28 M. In total, in the last four years, FCBL suffered a loss of almost Nu 104 M,” said Lyonpo.

Lyonpo attributed poor management of farm shops as one of the reasons behind the loss;

“One of the main reasons is due to the poor management of Farm Shops across the country. Likewise, the farm shops were almost like grocery shops and made to compete with other businesses. Moreover, farm shop operators were provided salaries and functioned similarly to a civil servant without much worries to sell their products.”

But, Lyonpo informed the House that the ministry is now planning to upgrade farm shops for better performance.

“We are planning to make few changes to the farm shops project. Farm shops will function as community service shops whereby the shops will not only sell agricultural products but all basic and essential goods will be made available. It will also serve as a centre which will procure all agricultural and livestock products from farmers and help them with marketing,” Lyonpo added.

The House was informed that to improve the performance of the Farm Shops, the Farm Shops will have to be either operated under the concerned Gewog Administration or DAMC.

Lyonpo also highlighted the need to look into the employment of 136 youth operating the Farm Shops as permanent employees or on contract. He however informed the House that the improvement plans for the Farm Shops will only be implemented after the global pandemic situation improves.

Today, from over 170 farm shops in the country, 51 farm shops have been shut down and few farm shops have been handed over to youth to function as a franchise. Only 109 farm shops are operational as of today.

Choni Dema and Passang Dorji

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