October 5, 2022

Organic fertilizer production companies hope for profitable business

Chimi Dema

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine have disrupted the supply of fertilizer to Bhutanese farmers.

Given the shortage in the market, local organic fertilizer producers are optimistic about better business and market visibility.

Flora Bhutan owner Deepak Chhetri said business was good. “There is a huge demand for vermicompost.”

He said, “With the support of the National Soil Services Center and the National Center for Organic Agriculture, I can now produce 40 metric tons (MT) in one year.”

According to Deepak, making compost has a huge market. His company has sold 8 MT of vermicompost so far this year.

“I would be interested in training young people who want to start their composting business. There is a future in the compost making business as the demand is increasing every year,” he said.

Flora Bhutan’s clients include government offices, flower nurseries and individuals in Thimphu.

There are 12 organic fertilizer producers in the country that today produce compost, vermicompost, and organic porridge compost according to National Soil Services Center records.

They are found in Thimphu, Sarpang, Gelephu, Chukha, Tsirang, Samtse and Samdrupjongkhar.

Padam Bio-slurry Compost located in Rametey, Chukha produces 100MT of bio-slurry in one year.

A composting company staff member said the company faces some challenges because customers are not aware. “With a little push to increase the company’s visibility in the market, we would get more demand today for the current requirement.”

The Daina nursery located in Samtse produces 100 tons of vermicompost per year. The company was doing well from its inception in 2013 until the pandemic.

Owner Sarad Gurung said movement restrictions in the dzongkhag made it difficult to transport compost to Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Punakha and Wangdue.

“The business keeps growing due to the growing demand for compost,” he said.

The facility provides a few kilograms of compost on a trial basis to interested farmers. He said customers came back to buy.

The 2020 to 2021 annual report of the National Soil Services Center (NSSC) indicated that the center provided worms to farmers and young people interested in starting vermicomposting.

About 477 MT of organic fertilizers were produced by small and large fertilizer companies in the country.

The Bhu Org farm in Gelephu produces 250 tons of compost per year.

Its owner, Kamal Pradhan, said he hopes the business will improve as the country focuses on organic farming and becomes self-sufficient.

He said that with some state-owned enterprises (SOEs) producing organic fertilizers, the growth of these newly established organic fertilizer enterprises might be affected.

“State-owned companies have government support that private companies won’t have,” he added.

NSSC distributed 65.79 tons of locally available organic fertilizers to promote them and encourage farmers to engage in organic farming.