A grad­u­ate finds suc­cess in dairy farm­ing

Business Bhutan - - Business - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley

As a young grad­u­ate fresh out of the col­lege, Sur­jey Dhungyel moved around hither and thither to land a job, al­beit in vain.

But after hav­ing de­cided to go through the job hunt­ing pro­ce­dures, this 26 years old Life Science grad­u­ate from Sherubtse Col­lege has fi­nally found suc­cess in dairy farm­ing, which he started in his 18 acres of land in Sipsu, Samtse.

This el­dest son of the fam­ily now is set­tled with 45 cat­tle, of which 18 are cur­rently milk­ing cows. He has three Hol­stein Friesian breed and the re­main­ing are jersey cows, sup­ply­ing up to 160l of milk a day.

And while the morn­ing’s milk is sold in the lo­cal mar­ket, Sur­jey Dhungyel uses the evening’s col­lec­tion to process them for other dairy prod­ucts like cheese and but­ter. His prod­ucts reach not only other ma­jor towns through deal­ers, but are also found in the cap­i­tal in Thim­phu.

Sur­jey Dhungyel says the idea to start jersey farm­ing struck his mind while he was in his sec­ond year at Sherub­ste Col­lege.

“Since I was in my sec­ond year at col­lege, I had started de­vel­op­ing pas­ture in my five acres of land dur­ing va­ca­tions. Also I started con­struc­tion of the cat­tle sheds with the firm as­sur­ance to start his farm,” he says.

Through the fi­nan­cial sup­port from Bhutan De­vel­op­ment Bank Lim­ited and his rel­a­tives, he col­lected Nu 2mn to start his busi­ness, which he spent on shed con­struc­tion, pas­ture de­vel­op­ment, as­sem­bling cat­tle and mar­ket­ing van.

“I was sure that I would be em­ployed some­where. But felt the ne­ces­sity to stay home with my par­ents and do some­thing. After all, money is what we work for,” he says.

To­day, he em­ploys five staffs to work in his farm - two staffs work for the fod­der, an­other two in­side the shed and a driver – and pays Nu 27,000 as salaries.

While he as­pired to be a doc­tor or a den­tal sur­geon, Sur­jey Dhungyel says he has de­cided now to ded­i­cate all of his life to dairy farm­ing. He also plans to ex­pand his farm by in­creas­ing his pas­ture land and adding more pro­duc­tive cows.

“If ev­ery­thing goes well, I still need more than 20 la­bor­ers to work in my farm,” he says, brim­ming with op­ti­mism.

With many farm­ers in Sipsu bear­ing the brunt of wildlife depre­da­tion, Sur­jey Dhungyel says it has hap­pened be­cause of most gov­ern­ment land be­ing left fal­low thus mak­ing it home for the wild boars.

He says he would lease all those land for pas­ture de­vel­op­ment to ex­pand his farm if it was pos­si­ble. “I will be solv­ing hu­man wildlife con­flict and would be adding lit­tle to the gov­ern­ment’s cof­fer by pay­ing lease in­stead of keep­ing it fal­low and turn­ing them into a breed­ing ground,” he rea­sons.

Apart from a suc­cess­ful dairy farm­ing, Sur­jey Dhungyel also wants to lead by ex­am­ple to oth­ers and be a role model to youth. “We don’t save much when we move out and earn. I want to in­spire youth that we can do any­thing if we in­vest in hard work and ded­i­ca­tion,” he says, adding that peo­ple should not be ex­pect­ing the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide em­ploy­ment to all the youth.

Fur­ther, Sur­jey Dhungyel plans to em­ploy a pri­vate ve­teri­nary spe­cial­ist for con­stant care and ob­ser­va­tion of his cat­tle. To help other dairy farm­ers, he also plans to de­velop a breed­ing cen­ter of pro­duc­tive cat­tle. “Poor farm­ers travel to In­dia to bring those breeds. I am plan­ning to solve their prob­lem too. They don’t have to make un­nec­es­sary ex­penses,” he says.

How­ever, Sur­jey Dhungyel’s suc­cess is not with­out chal­lenges. In his ini­tial set up, his two milk­ing cows died, after which he nearly gave up. Also he was se­ri­ously ill when his busi­ness was pick­ing up. With­out much la­bor, he had to work on his farm de­spite his ill­ness. He says la­bor short­age is still a chal­lenge as Bhutanese are re­luc­tant to work on farms, thus com­pelling them to hire In­dian la­bor­ers.

And as he nears the end of his story, Sur­jey Dhungyel records the or­der for his prod­ucts, which will be de­liv­ered by his de­liv­ery van. In be­tween, he says he has eight more cows to give birth next few months.

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