Choki Wangmo

Despite limited human resource and mounting public demand, the Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited (BLDCL) is fighting another challenge of keeping the livestock products fresh before delivery.

Due to lack of refrigerated vans, blast freezers, cold storages, and improper processing facilities in the dzongkhags, meat products go bad quickly.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of BLDCL, Jigme Wangchuk, said that in the last two weeks, 13,000kg of chicken were spoilt and discarded.

Since August 15, BLDCL has distributed 48,205 cheese balls, 3,291kg of butter, 1,385 kgs of beef, 4,309kg of chicken, and 3,841 cartons of egg in Thimphu.

A kg of butter and cheese costs Nu 450 each and a tray of egg is Nu 375.

With the help of livestock department, the corporation has deployed 44 people with 14 pick-up trucks to distribute the dairy products to shops in different zones and households.

Although there were no records as to how many households had been reached, the orders dropped in the last three days, said the CEO. The drop in demand might be because the cheese was the only product regularly consumed, he added.

Local eggs, cheese, and butter are main products available with the corporation which are brought from other dzongkhags while beef is bought from a local importer. Jigme Wangchuk said that other dzongkhags had surplus products and so the office did not have to deploy officials to deliver in other dzongkhags. The product prices were negotiated with the farmers in consultation with the dzongkhag livestock officers.

“We can continue to supply eggs, butter, and cheese if the lockdown continues for a month,” he said.

But he said that BLDCL might need to increase the storage facilities in the capital and also set up more sales outlets or distribution points to fast track clearing the stock.

In the earlier days of the lockdown, people on social media complained about lack of efficient service delivery. This, according to Jigme Wangchuk, was due to lack of proper address and GPS system in the capital.

He said: “The deliveries had to be made with description of the location and landmarks on call which led to delay in delivering the products.”

The corporation, formed three years ago, is mandated to supply dairy products for people during the nationwide lockdown.