Innovating Bhutan’s dairy sector with social impact

Innovating Bhutan’s dairy sector with social impact

…the story of Serkar Dairy

Nestled amidst Bhutan’s serene landscapes, Serkar Dairy emerges not just as a dairy company, but as a beacon of sustainable practices and social enterprise. Established in 2021 and operational since September 2023, Serkar Dairy swiftly rose to prominence in Bhutan’s dairy industry, specializing in premium Greek yogurts, natural and processed cheeses, and other high-end dairy products.

A Vision of Sustainability

Driven by a vision to lead in processed dairy products while respecting nature and empowering local communities, Serkar Dairy operates as a social enterprise. According to CEO Ugyen Dendup, the company leverages climate-resilient livestock farming, aligning with government initiatives to combat climate change and uplift rural economies.

“We are deeply integrated with rural communities, particularly farmers’ milk groups, ensuring a stable supply of high-quality milk through long-term price guarantee contracts,” Ugyen emphasized. This approach not only secures a market for farmers but also fosters sustainable dairy farming practices crucial for Bhutan’s agricultural resilience.

Innovative Products with Local Flavor

Serkar Dairy’s product lineup includes their signature Serkar Greek Yogurts, available in original, strawberry, and natural honey flavors, catering to health-conscious consumers. Additionally, their natural Cheddar and processed Cheddar cheeses are tailored to suit Bhutanese culinary preferences, crafted with minimal additives for a pure taste experience.

“Our Greek yogurts are homogenized and packed with high protein from certified probiotic cultures, setting them apart as a unique offering in Bhutan,” Ugyen explained proudly. The company’s commitment to product excellence is evident in their ongoing research and development of flavored drinking yogurts, pasteurized milk, whey drinks, and whey wine, poised to diversify their market presence.

Overcoming Challenges

From initial financial hurdles to technical complexities, Serkar Dairy navigated various challenges to establish itself as a key player in Bhutan’s dairy sector. Currently, their primary challenge lies in sourcing sufficient raw milk to meet escalating market demands in urban centers like Thimphu and Paro.

“To address this, we’ve secured long-term supply agreements with nine milk groups and are investing in logistical support to source milk from farther regions,” Ugyen disclosed. The company aims to ramp up its plant utilization from 50% to 75% by year-end, ensuring sustainable growth while maintaining product quality.

Looking Ahead

Reflecting on his entrepreneurial journey, Ugyen Dendup shared insights into the resilience required in business. “The world of business can be tough, but dedication to research, experience, and risk-taking are essential to realizing your dreams,” he affirmed.

As Serkar Dairy continues to innovate and expand, it not only contributes to Bhutan’s economic landscape but also champions sustainable agriculture and community empowerment. With a clear commitment to quality, innovation, and social responsibility, Serkar Dairy sets a benchmark for the dairy industry in Bhutan and beyond, and stands as a testament to the transformative power of sustainable business practices, enriching both the palate and the community it serves.

By Sherab Dorji, Thimphu