Farmer’s groups and schools of Wangduephordang Dzongkhag benefited from the local vegetables supplied under School Feeding Programme.
Reported by Agriculture Sector, Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag.
Within the mandate of strengthening the market linkages for the farmers of vegetable growers in the Dzongkhag. The Agriculture Sector under collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC), Thimphu had initiated market linking between the vegetable growers’ farmers groups with the potential schools under school feeding programs, Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag in the year 2020 onwards.
Linking the farmers' groups and the schools were facilitated by negotiating the rates and quantity of the vegetable items to be supplied by the farmers' groups to the schools by drawing the common consensus and signing the agreement for each academic year and renewing by end of the academic sessions. The schools utilize funds to procure local vegetables from the stipend allocated to the students by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
Accordingly, the Agriculture sector under collaboration with the Dzongkhag Education sector and guidance from DAMC facilitated the renewal of the agreement involving 86 representatives from both farmers groups and schools in December 2021. The representatives were from concerned farmer’s group executive members, mess in-charges, and principals.
Out of 11 schools, renewal of vegetable supply to the schools progressed with 10 schools and failed to renew with Taksha Primary School as the farmer’s group was not confident in supplying vegetables to the school due to poor coordination among the group. However, linking took place between Dangchu Primary School and the farmers' group of Dangchu village for vegetable supply. Overall, 11 schools have been linked as of now and decentralized the reviewing and signing agreements from next year among themself. There are 28 schools under Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag.
After the review, it revealed that the farmers were benefited more than Nu.11.31 million from the vegetables supplied to schools. The representative from the schools shared positive experiences having more convenience to source from the farmers and being able to feed fresh and nutritive vegetables to the students besides of price crunch for locally produced vegetables. Farmer’s representatives were also encouraged to supply vegetables to the schools for being able to feed their children directly or indirectly.
The Agriculture Sector has a plan to focus and encourage more linking with potential farmers groups and schools in the coming academic year.