Since Monday, the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) has not been able to export vegetables from Phuentsholing following restriction on the movement of Bhutanese vehicles carrying vegetables in Jaigoan.
Due to the Corona virus pandemic this year, FCB started exporting vegetables only on June 18, over a month later than usual. According to FCB, farmers will be most affected considering the perishable nature of the vegetables.
FCB Director, Lhakpa Sherpa said they have been doing business with Indian parties without any issues so far. “Now due to the COVID-19 pandemic and vested interest of some parties, the movement of Bhutanese vehicles especially those carrying vegetables is being restricted. Due to these reasons, we are not able to export vegetables.”
Meanwhile, it is not known why the export via Jaigaon is being stopped. There are speculations that people in Jaigaon wants the border gate to be opened. Following the gate closure on March 23, businesses in Jaigaon have been affected, as the primary customers are Bhutanese.
July is the peak vegetable season in the country and a time when the auction yard in FCB is the busiest. Due to the pandemic, FCB had started conduction auctions in various hubs across the country to avoid farmers from travelling to the auction yards. However, with the current situation, the ongoing vegetable auction for farmers of Chukkha,Haa, Paro, and Thimphu in Damchu, Chhukha has also been suspended.
Meanwhile, FCB has submitted the issue to the COVID-19 task force in Phuentsholing.