Celebrating diversity at Foothills Festival in Gelephu

GELEPHU, Bhutan (Kuensel/ANN) – The last few days have been hectic for Choki Dema from remote Singye county in Sarpang.

Choki Dema not only harvested what she had in her garden but also went around collecting vegetables from other villagers.

Selling the goods at the Foothills Festival in Gelephu Higher Secondary School ground yesterday from the stall allotted to her gewog, Choki said she already earned about Nu/INR 3,000.

She brought vegetables, dairy products, cereals and even brooms. “I already sold five kilogrammes of butter, 30 balls of cheese and vegetables.”

Choki participated in the festival last year also and made a profit of Nu/INR 10,000.

She said the festival has encouraged many farmers to grow vegetables on large scale in the villages. “Otherwise, people only grew for their own consumption, as they do not have the market. No one would come to our village to buy it.”

In the stall next to Choki’s is Chuku Maya, 40, from Dolpani village of Dekiling county. Besides the farm produces, she also brought pickles for sale.

The mother of four, who is a vegetable vendor in Gelephu, said she didn’t bring many vegetables this year, as they couldn’t sell all the ones they brought last year.

“I reduced the quantity, as I sell in the market.”

In her stall, there are seven farmers from the county.

The county administrative officer, Kinley Norbu, said the county brought 52 items.

“The county notify and advise farmers to grow winter vegetables and fruits and we use the county Bolero to collect the products,” he said.

According to Kinley Norbu, the festival helps farmers earn some income, as most don’t know how to market their products. “Most farmers feed the vegetables to cattle.”

All the counties are allotted with stalls to display and sell their farm produces and also eateries.

Some stalls even sell dried beef, and fish and others sell cane and bamboo products.