Poultry: Some 11 farmers from Phuntshothang, Pemathang and Samdrupcholing in Samdrupjongkhar gathered last year to start broiler farms. Today, after their first production, farmers are worried about business sustainability.

The 11 farms produced 700 kilograms of meat. In the next line of production, the farm will produce about 1,500 kilograms of meat. Where is the problem so?

The farmers said that many people prefer chicken imported from India or they buy from Darranga (Mela bazaar), a border town in India. And this is hurting their business.

The farms were established to substitute the import of chicken from India and to help farmers generate income. The dzongkhag livestock sector supplied 2,500 day-old chicks (DOC) to 11 broiler farms. Each farm has a capacity for 500 birds. Put together, the 11 farms have the capacity to produce 5MT meat every year.

Farmers took their products to Trashigang yesterday because they were not able to sell in Samdrupjongkhar. A kilogram of meat was sold at Nu 175. The price of a kilogram chicken was initially fixed at Nu 200.

“We thought our local product would be preferred,” Krishna, 31 said. “If we can fetch anywhere between Nu 195 and Nu 200, it would help us to sustain. We’re trying our best.”

The farmers are now planning to form a cooperative. Established on the cost-sharing basis, are first of their kind in the gewogs.

Dzongkhag livestock officer Thinley Rabten said that with this kind of market situation, the farmers would find it difficult to market their products. The sector will coordinate with meat vendors and help expand the market with the help from RAMCO.

“Customers are actually not aware about the broiler farms. Perhaps that the reason why products are not popular yet,” he said. “Many prefer chicken imported from India.

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar