FCBL launched Quinoa Processing Plant in Phuentsholing

FCBL launched Quinoa Processing Plant in Phuentsholing Auction yard this morning. Quinoa, often called as “Super Food” or a “Super Grain”, is one of the world’s popular health food. It is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. It was introduced in Bhutan in 2015 from Peru to diversify the farmer’s traditional cropping systems and enhance the food and nutritional security of the Bhutanese people. As a climate-resilient crop, Quinoa remains as a major future crop towards achieving food self-sufficiency in our country. Since its inception in 2015, the quinoa production has been steadily rising. Currently, the production has been carried in an estimated area of about 600 acres across the nation and the total production estimate in 2018-2019 was 37.16 MT. There is a high demand of quinoa in both the domestic and international markets with people increasingly becoming more health conscious. In an attempt to promote value addition and processing, FCBL has lately initiated the procurement of processing plant costing worth Nu. 3.4 Million with the fund support from Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) project, Department of Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs. The processing plant is installed at Auction Yard, Phuentsholing. With the establishment of processing plant, FCBL aims to provide well packed quinoa to the domestic consumers across the country including School Feeding supplies. The processing unit has the capacity to process 500 KG of quinoa per hour and the processing line includes cleaning process, followed by Seponin removal or de-husking, washing and then drying. This process greatly improves the quality of finished product without losing any of its ingredients. The cleaned and dried quinoa kernels would then undergo vacuum packaging mechanism of one 1KG package each. Currently, the majority of RNR produce from Bhutan are marketed in its raw form limiting the realization of its actual values. Quinoa has a high potential for international markets and the value added quinoa is expected to penetrate the untapped international markets and fetch better prices. Additionally, it is expected to positively impact the farmers at the grass root level to establish quinoa as the main crop due to the availability of ready market and thus ultimately enhancing their rural livelihood. Further, it will also promote brand Bhutan in the International market. FCBL looks forward venturing into more of such value chain processing in the near future for the various domestic products through supply chain and value chain analysis. The event was graced by Dasho Dzongdag, Chukha and attended by the officials of FCBL and Department of Trade, MoEA, Phuentsholing.

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