Vegetable Value Chain Programme & Linking to Schools

This programme implemented in the six Eastern districts of Bhutan benefited 1527 households in 119 farmers’ groups selling Nu 38 m worth of vegetable including potato in 2014. 70% of these beneficiaries are women. The most popular part of this programme is the linking of farmer groups to schools and other institutes:

In total, the Linking program has benefited 90 farmer groups consisting of 1116 households from 30 Gewogs, and 9371 students and monks (5009 male and 4362 female) from 40 schools/Institutions. Guidelines for facilitating the contractual supply were prepared including the lessons learnt for future scaling up (click here for the publication). 

In total 721.79 MT of vegetables, 9.24 MT of Fruits, 0.41 MT of cereals, 0.60 MT of butter and cheese, 1688 liters of Milk and 39404 numbers of eggs worth Nu. 12.350 Million was supplied to 40 schools/institutions by 90 FGs for the academic year 2014.

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.
  • 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
  • Record & book keeping trainings, Training on general leadership, Training on female leadership (for the manual click here),
  • 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.

Trashigang district is leading in terms of the number of groups and geogs covered under this programme. The production covers more than 20 vegetables and potatoes. From the production figures and income generation through this enterprise, It is clear that these groups are taking their joint enterprises seriously and a viable business model is effectviely in place.

Table: Production Quantity & Income as of December 2014 

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