Druk Textile faces closure threat, seeks government support amid market woes

Druk Textile, Bhutan’s first fully-fledged fabric manufacturing company at the Dhamdum Industrial Park in Samtse is seeking government intervention to avoid imminent closure due to a bleak market. The company, which aims to supply fabrics for school, government, and private office uniforms across the country, is struggling to secure orders, putting its operations at risk.

Since the commencement of the factory’s operation in 2021, 34-year-old Tshering Dhendup, the founder of Druk Textile had high hopes of making positive impacts on the country’s textile industry by providing locally manufactured school uniforms.

However, the once bustling factory, filled with the sounds of machinery and workers, has now fallen silent. The company is struggling to secure orders, leaving its machinery and materials idle for months.

Tshering says, even a few orders from one or two districts would significantly help him sustain the textile business. However, he has not been able to secure any orders, even from Samtse, which has over 40 schools.

“The government has been very supportive during the initial phases of our project by providing training, land on lease, and loans. As entrepreneurs, we invest our precious time and money, but we lack the crucial assistance needed to penetrate the market. This is a common challenge faced by entrepreneurs across the country.”

Since establishing his firm, Tshering has been able to supply school uniforms to only one school in the country. Currently, the company has very few orders and has switched to stitching uniforms and curtains for various offices.

The workforce also decreased drastically to just three employees from 20. Tshering is now desperately calling out for help.

“When contacting retailers and wholesalers of school dresses, they express hesitation, citing their longstanding relationships with Indian suppliers of over forty years. This barrier makes it challenging for us to penetrate the market. Government intervention in providing us with opportunities to supply school dresses to a few schools within the district or community would greatly aid in sustaining our business.”

Tshering’s investment of 20 million ngultrum in the project, largely financed through loans, is now at risk. He says with mounting pressure from banks for loan repayments, the future of Druk Textile appears grim.

As Tshering waits for help, the muted sounds of his factory serve as a stark reminder of the challenge local entrepreneurs face.

And if the situation doesn’t improve, Tshering says he might be forced to shut down the business and sell his machinery. He is even considering leaving Bhutan to work in Australia.

Passang Dorji, Samtse

Edited by Phub Gyem 

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