Exploring market for local agro products in third countries

A business entity based in Phuentsholing, Bhutan Business Export Line (BBEL), is exploring to enhance exports of Bhutanese agricultural products to the third countries.

The company, formed by Shiva Lal Subedi along with three other businessmen, has already exported dried agricultural products to the third countries, such as Dubai, Kuwait, the United States and Netherlands.

Speaking to Business Bhutan, the Chairman of BBEL, Shiva Lal Subedi said Bhutanese agro products are in huge demand in countries in the Middle East as working on agriculture is difficult.

He added that the group after receiving all the agricultural products would export them to those countries where they would fetch better prices comparatively than simply by exporting to Asian countries.

A group of four with other supporting staffs has also been put in place in four regions of the country to receive agricultural products from across the country.

While one member is stationed at Samtse, the others are at Gelephu. Meanwhile, another partner is stationed at Bangladesh with an established office.

Shiva Lal Subedi said, “Promoting export to third countries would fetch better prices for the farmers and we are working on that.”

The group unlike other mini traders from India does not bargain on the prices with the farmers. The group pays comparatively lower than those traders but assures accuracy on the weight.

“The other traders lure the innocent farmers with better prices but they betray from the weight scale,” he said, adding that if export to these rich countries are assured, farmers can directly deal with the group through their regional agents.

The group has so far exported cardamom, ginger and dried vegetables which it says was a success.

“Still we have demands that need to be fulfilled,” Shiva Lal Subedi said, adding that travelling to these countries for marketing has made him realize that Bhutanese products are valued high.

“If we work hard our farmers can earn more than what we are earning. We want to create a bridge for the Bhutanese farmers,” he added. “Still, Bhutanese farmers deal with Indian traders to export their agro products.”

BBEl, meanwhile, also has plans to create a brand, starting from the packaging to promote organic agro products. The group also plans to install a machine to judge the quality of the product to avert farmers from cheating. The payments then will be made accordingly.

“Doing so we can encourage good business practices to the farmers and sell best quality products,” Shiva Lal Subedi said.

And while the group maintains that it’s struggling without adequate earnings, they want to promote organic agro products across the world.

“The profit is secondary. If export to these countries goes well, the country can earn the much-needed foreign currencies,” Shiva Lal Subedi said.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing