Ideas pitched to change Bhutanese di­etary habits

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley from Phuentshol­ing

If all goes well, the youth of four gewogs of Bongo, Dungna, Sam­phelling and Me­takha in Ch­hukha may start new and in­no­va­tive busi­nesses in their re­spec­tive com­mu­nity soon.

18 youth, mostly school dropouts, pitched busi­ness ideas last week, which will not only ben­e­fit en­trepreneurs, but will also bring pos­i­tive changes in the di­etary habits of the peo­ple. Their raw ideas were re­fined by men­tors in groups for three days to change the con­sump­tion pat­terns and di­etary habits of Bhutanese. The busi­ness is also ex­pected to boost lo­cal in­come.

The Agriculture Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment un­der the agriculture and forests min­istry had ini­ti­ated the train­ing, where par­tic­i­pants were groomed on their raw busi­ness ideas. The par­tic­i­pants un­like other busi­ness ideas had to iden­tify prob­lems of the peo­ple about their di­etary habits with neg­a­tive health im­pli­ca­tions. Now, af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing the prob­lems, these par­tic­i­pants can in­no­vate bet­ter op­tions look­ing at the health of the peo­ple with the lo­cally avail­able agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. Then they could start pro­duc­ing con­sum­able prod­ucts for the peo­ple.

“Do­ing so, the busi­ness can bring pos­i­tive im­pacts to the peo­ple’s health, en­trepreneurs and the so­ci­ety as a whole,” said Tshe­drup Dorji, Agriculture Su­per­vi­sor at Agriculture and Re­search De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter at Yusi­pang in Thim­phu.

Mean­while, the ideas will be pre­sented to donors and fund­ing agen­cies in June this year. The agen­cies can then buy the idea and start fund­ing for the busi­ness project af­ter se­lect­ing the idea. The ideas, which are hu­man cen­tered, are also ex­pected to en­hance na­tional food and nu­tri­tion se­cu­rity in­volv­ing the youth.

A group from Me­takha has pitched an idea about sup­ply­ing buck­wheat bis­cuits in the mar­ket. The group plans to start mass scale buck­wheat cul­ti­va­tion and bake be­cause of its health ben­e­fits. “Un­like other ce­re­als, buck­wheat has bet­ter health ben­e­fits and also it will en­cour­age the farm­ers to cul­ti­vate,” a par­tic­i­pant said.

A group from Dungna wants to sup­ply pro­cessed lentils to the mar­ket. The group plans to tar­get ath­letes by sup­ply­ing con­sum­able lentil juice, which has a high pro­tein.

San­cha Bir Ta­mang from Dungna said cul­ti­vat­ing and sup­ply­ing lentil juice to the gym go­ers has huge scope. “It will also ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity and curb im­port,” the 21-yearold said, adding that team spirit and good re­search are im­por­tant as­pects of en­trepreneur­ship, which he as­sures to do be­fore start­ing.

“We have to look into var­i­ous as­pects be­fore start­ing any en­ter­prise, in­clud­ing health and com­mu­nity apart from in­come,” he said, which he learnt from the pro­gram.

Mean­while, Sam­pheling ge­wog has plans to start gourd ap­ple juice, which can re­place morn­ing tea for bet­ter health. “Since con­sum­ing too much tea has health im­pli­ca­tions, we are plan­ning to sup­ply gourd ap­ple juice, which will also change drinking habits of the peo­ple,” Karma Ta­mang said.

The sup­ply­ing of or­ganic chili pickle was an­other idea pitched by the group of youth from Bongo. “We will en­cour­age farm­ers to grow chili and start a plant if we get fund­ing,” Thin­ley Nam­gay, 23 from Bongo, said.

Chimi Rinzin, the Pro­gram Co­or­di­na­tor from the agriculture depart­ment said, “Par­tic­i­pants can also pitch dif­fer­ent in­no­va­tive ideas for the com­mu­nity and in­come. They can de­velop in­no­va­tive ideas which can bring pos­i­tive changes in the di­etary habits of Bhutanese and gen­er­ate in­come for the com­mu­nity.”

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