Farmers venturing into commercial farming in Sarpang need not worry about their harvests going to waste. They will have a cold storage facility to store their surplus harvest by next month. One of the three cold storage facilities the government promised to construct in the financial year 2020-2021 is under development at Samtenling Gewog in Sarpang.
Once complete, the facility will store the surplus vegetables and fruits in the peak season and make them available during the dry season.
“Despite bumper harvests, farmers cannot earn a good income because of marketing issues. They have to keep their produce at home which gets spoiled. Now that might change for good with the Food Corporation setting up cold storage in the district,” said Karma Galey, a farmer in Sarpang.
“Access to cold storage would encourage farmers to venture into commercial farming. It is going to benefit the farmers in Samtenling Gewog the most as the gewog has more commercial vegetable farmers. We can store the produce if the market isn’t good. We are very happy,” said Tshewang Peldon, another farmer from Sarpang.
The government included the construction of cold storage as one of the critical components of the Economic Contingency Plan 2020-2021 to ensure food security and achieving self-reliance. The agriculture ministry prioritized and initiated the construction of three integrated (multi-chambered) cold stores at strategic locations in Sarpang, Trashigang and Wangdue Phodrang. The locations are identified depending on the production of nine valuable crops and vegetables, the number of schools and students under the School and Hospital Feeding Programme, the urban population in the districts and access to potential markets.
Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited is constructing the cold stores.
The construction of the cold storage in Samtenling began in February and is scheduled to be complete by August this year. The facility is being constructed at an estimated cost of Nu 38.16 million.