Khemdro Dairy: Fresh Milk – At a Fair Price

Support for the construction and installation of five milk collection centres in the Phobjikha Valley

The Friends of Bhutan Association is supporting Khemdro in setting up five milk collection centres within a 15-minute walk of the farms. They  are equipped with an electricity and water connection and electronic scales.

The short walking time enables the farmers to take the freshly milked milk to the collection centre in the morning and evening immediately after milking. This prevents excessive storage and the mixing of old and new milk.  The farmers are compensated financially for the improved quality and freshness of the milk. 

Improving milk quality
Khemdro Dairy has already more than 90 members

Setting up a dairy is not an easy task. Guaranteeing the hygiene and freshness of the milk are part of the challenges that Sherab Dorji, a young entrepreneur and founder of the Khemdro dairy, wants to tackle. Because good cheese, yoghurt or ice cream can only be made with high-quality milk he therefore works together with farmers to improve milk quality through better hygiene measures during milking, through suitable, hygienic and easy-to-clean containers for storage and transport, but also through prompt collection and processing of the milk. The better the quality of the milk and the faster the milk reaches the dairy, the better products Khemdro can produce and the more Khemdro can pay the farmers for the milk – a win-win situation.

Khemdro – A Socia Dairy Enterprise

Sherab Dorji is a young social entrepreneur who completed his bachelor’s degree in environmental science and economics in the USA in 2022 and has returned to Bhutan. While still a student, he founded the Khemdro Dairy in 2018 and began working with 39 dairy farmers in the Phobjikha Valley. The number of milk suppliers has now grown to over 90 members. Khemdro Dairy (KD) is a social dairy company that works with smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, to directly improve their livelihoods by providing a fair and guaranteed market for their milk.

March 2024: Visit to the Khemdro Dairy by members of the Friends of Bhutan Association

On 21 March, six members of our association visited Sherab Dorji. In the freezing cold and snowfall, we met the farmers as they delivered and weighed the milk at the milk collection centre. The four other milk collection centres Damchen Lhakhang, Taphu, Tawa and Chakji-Talachen had also been built and fully equipped by this time. Damchen Lhakhang was the second milk collection centre to go into operation on 20 April. Tawa will open in July 2024. All milk collection centres should be operational by October. The gradual expansion goes hand in hand with the further expansion of the dairy’s capacities, which should secure the market for even more dairy farmers in the future. A cold store, which is still to be completed, will also significantly improve the storage options for the dairy products.

Opening day of Damchen Lhakhang MCC
Milk cans and Khemdro’s first milk chiller

Afterwards Sherab gave us a tour of the dairy and explained the milk processing procedures. The seven employees process up to 500 litres of milk every day. In addition to milk, they also produce butter, datsi (cheese) yoghurt and ice cream. Sherab Dorji also takes care of the marketing, and not just in the hotels and restaurants of the Phobjikha Valley, which is well developed for tourism. On our return journey to Thimphu, we were also able to discover Khemdro’s yoghurt there.

We would like to thank all the donors who made it possible to equip the milk collection centres with a water and electricity connection and electronic scales!
Project data

Project name: Construction of five milk collection centres in the Phobjikha Valley
Funding: EUR 5,000
Project partner: Khemdro Dairy
Project duration: January 2024 – December 2024
Thematic focus: Promotion of income-generating measures
SDG tracker: SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere; SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all