Vegetable Value Chain Programme & Linking to Schools

This programme implemented in the six Eastern districts of Bhutan benefited 1517 households h in 114 farmers’ groups selling Nu 20.6m worth of vegetable including potato in 2013. 70% of these beneficiaries are women. The most popular part of this programme is the linking of farmer groups to schools and other institutes: 795 of the mentioned households (57 farmers’ groups) are undertaking contractual supply of vegetables and other agricultural products to 31 schools /institutes, valuing Nu 7.15m in 2013. Guidelines for facilitating the contractual supply were prepared including the lessons learnt for future scaling up (click here for the publication).

This programme is implemented under the IFAD –funded Market Access and Growth Intensification Project (MAGIP).  Key partner is the Regional Marketing and Cooperatives Office (RAMCO).

Activities have covered the whole vegetable value chain. On the production side:

  • Selection of viable production clusters (interest, vegetable prod, road head, water)
  • Provision of seeds, knapsack sprayers, sprinklers, stamp & bill book, etc.
  • Till date 5 monitoring/motivational visits to all groups
  • Studies: water saving technology, seed sector, cost of production

On the marketing side:

  • Business to Business (B2B)  meetings, cross border agencies, banks
  • Marketing coordinators (90% remunerated by other group members), transport fund
  • 3 account & record, 2 leadership (for the manual click here), 2 female leadership trainings
  • Feasibility of federation of farmer groups (for report click here)
  • Facilitation of contractual supply by farmer groups to schools (for video click here)
  • Training on Improved harvesting & packaging (for training video click here)

Indian markets south of Bhutan also offer huge potential to Bhutanese vegetable growers for two reasons: 1) Indian markets are huge compared to the Bhutanese markets, and 2) Vegetable prices in India are high during summer due to the monsoon heat and rain. The prices triple (see graph with prices in IC/Quintal in Guwahati, Assam) in the summer months. Even for domestic markets, competition from Indian vegetables is much less during the summer months.

The Social Inclusion Study undertaken in January 2014 shows the income increase from vegetables: there is substantial shift of households to higher income brackets if the % are compared for 2011 and end 2013.

The same Social Inclusion Study undertook a wealth ranking comparing members and non-members of the farmers groups under the programme. The vegetable programme is quite inclusive: beneficiaries belong just slightly to the better off.

A separate Mock Audit was undertaken with an assessment tool two months after book & record keeping training and leadership trainings were provided: 74% scored excellent or good during mock audit. It shows the large majority of groups is taking their enterprise seriously.

Tashigang district is leading in the number of groups. The production covers more than 20 vegetables and potatoes. This cannot only be contributed to this programme, but is also a result of earlier programmes. It is clear that these groups are taking their joint enterprises seriously.

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