Less oranges for pulp production in Pema Gatshel after most of the fruits are exported

Orange production this season in Pema Gatshel has been good but the quality seems to be much better. This is according to what the only farmers’ group in the district that produces orange pulp is saying. Normally, the group receives a lot of oranges from local farmers. But this year, very few farmers have come to the group as most of the production has been exported.

The Integrated Food Processing Plant run by the Dungsam Sonam Gongphel Detshen is located in Shumar Gewog. Every year, the unit produces at least 15 tonnes of orange pulp. Most of the oranges used to produce pulp are ones rejected for export. And as such, the price which the farmers get is also comparatively lower.

However, the group has received only about four tonnes of oranges this year. And this came when the group got its highest order from its sole customer, Bhutan Agro Industries Limited, a food processing company.

“We had an order of 25 tonnes from WangchuTaba. But most of the orange growers transported the orange to Samdrup Jongkhar for export and didn’t bring it here. So, we failed to meet the demand,” said Tashi Jamtsho, the Chairperson of the Dungsam Sonam Gongphel Detshen.

The group usually makes between Nu 100,000 to Nu 150,000 as profit in a season. This time, they made about Nu 30-40,000.

Despite, the upsetting news this time, the group says it has plans to expand the business.

“We will be receiving a new pulping machine next year. We are hopeful we will get more oranges next year. For our plant, we don’t need very good quality oranges, that’s why we also use oranges rejected for export,” said Tashi Jamtsho.

The Dungsam Sonam Gongphel Detshen started producing pulp after its formation in 2008. From about fifteen members then, today it has only seven members.

Thinley Dorji, Pema Gatshel

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen

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