Since December 24, 192 tons of imported vegetables have reached Thimphu in addition to 16 tons of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and more than 6,000 bundles of leafy vegetables sourced from various districts. However, Bhutanese consumers have been unhappy with the hiked prices.
Although the Agriculture Ministry fixed farmgate prices from which the wholesale and retail prices are derived, many said that the prices of the vegetables were extremely high. “If consumers fail to consume local produce, the only option is imported items,” Minister Lyonpo wrote, asking producers not to take advantage of the unprecedented situations.
Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives, Ugyen Penjore, said to ensure implementation of fixed prices, the prices had been shared through various modes of communication, including direct communication to the wholesalers, retailers and also to the growers.
“The ministry has requested the OCP to monitor and enforce the final selling prices,” he said, adding that shops should prominently display daily prices of vegetables.
He, however, said that the price change depends on the change in farmgate prices. If the farmgate price is set too high, the retail price is also high and affects the general consumers.“ If it is too low, the returns may not cover the cost of farmers’ investment and may discourage farming in the near future and this will have a negative impact on the agriculture sector.”
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