I hail from Lhuentse Dzongkhag, from a village called Dragong. I served as a teacher for a little over 19 years and retired in 2018 to give back in a small way to my community.
While I was into value adding farm products as a means to finding markets for the far flung villages, I stumbled upon a program called Javara Indonesia. I was inspired by the lady who was at the helm of changing the lives of villagers, marketing farm products after value addition but at a global level. The then Lhomoen Foods embarked with ARDC and RAMCO, Mongar to focus on growing oil seeds so that many farmers have access to the market as it rules out the question of perishability of their products. I then sought financial support through the Loden-Hazelnut Programme Funding Window as it would directly benefit 3 Dzongkhags.
As Bhutan Growers focuses on traditionally grown oil seeds such as perilla and mustard and agriculturally acclimatised ground nuts, the problems of adoption by the farmers and adaptation by the crops itself is ruled out. Besides sustainability, it ensures farmers can easily scale up their products. The success of Bhutan Growers with extraction of cold pressed oil and its market viability, the farmers could easily scale up their products. Any unit of oil seeds they sell to Bhutan Growers, it would ensure economic returns which in turn would enable rural farmers to improve higher living standards.
We currently have 2 staff and have also been able to generate employment for over 76 youth and women in the villages where we work.