Like in other districts, the cold storage facility at Gomchu in Trashigang’s Khaling Gewog has also remained mostly vacant after it was opened, last year. The Food Corporation of Bhutan constructed the facility spending Nu 57 M to store agricultural and livestock products of farmers in eastern Bhutan.
Construction of the cold storage in Gomchu was completed in October last year. Five months on, only one meat vendor is making use of the facility. Two chambers are booked by the Mountain Hazelnuts.
The cold storage has 13 chambers for storing vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meat. It has a capacity of 300 metric tonnes.
“The problem is that we have to carry the load on our back and put it inside the chamber. In general, I think it will benefit us, but another problem is the distance. For instance, I stay at Wamrong while the storage is here at Gomchu, so I have to travel more than 50 kilometres to come here. Moreover, the user fee is also a little expensive,” said Tandin Wangchuk, a meat vendor in Wamrong.
“So far, I did not know that there is a cold storage facility in our district and no one approached us asking if we want to make use of it. I am getting to know about it today. I think it will benefit vegetable vendors like us. I will share it with my friends who are also vegetable retailers. It looks like it will be convenient for people living in Trashigang but there might be others who find the distance a bit too long,” said Lobzang, a vegetable vendor in Trashigang.
“I think people are not aware of the presence of the cold storage here right now. Moreover, it has just been a few months since the facility has been constructed. I think by next year, people will become more aware and benefit from the facility,” said Kinzang Dorji.
The Food Corporation of Bhutan said they are charging only a nominal monthly use fee of 4000 to 8000 ngultrum per chamber.
The corporation added that the number of users might be low right now as the peak agriculture harvest season has yet to begin. The FCB is expecting more users when the crop harvesting season begins.
Sonam Darjay, Trashigang
Edited by Kipchu