Tshering Namgyal | Lhuentse
Covid-19 pandemic has come as a blessing in disguise for Kinzang Wangchuk, a poultry farmer in Lhuentse. Unlike in the past, he can now sell the eggs without having to struggle for the market.
Kinzang Wangchuk started his farm with 100 birds at his village in Tsaenkhar gewog, about 7km from Autsho town. He gradually expanded it to 4,000 birds today after leasing a 95 decimal land.
Today, his farm produces about 10,000 eggs in a week of which he sold 1,500 eggs to the Autsho Central School every week until the school was closed in March following the first Covid-19 case in the country.
Given the marketing challenges, Kinzang Wangchuk sold the rest of the eggs in Mongar, Nganglam and Thimphu. This according to the farmer was challenging, economically and physically.
Recently, a customer from Dramitse, Mongar had approached him committing to buy all the eggs that his farm could produce.
“We have made a deal and the customer comes two to three times in a week to collect the eggs from the farm,” said Kinzang Wangchuk. “Finding a market was always a challenge, but not anymore.”
He said that there could have been a possible illegal import of eggs by wholesalers and retailers in Mongar and Lhuentse prior to the closure of border gates. “Some of my driver friends told me they used to bring in eggs by hiding them inside other goods in their trucks from across the border. The eggs were cheaper than the local ones.”
The farmer said that despite his complaints to the authorities, no action has been taken so far. “If the trend continues, I don’t think local poultry products would sustain in the long run.”
Kinzang Wangchuk is one of the biggest poultry owners in the dzongkhag today. He plans to further expand his farm with the 2,000 day-old-chicks he had ordered from the dzongkhag livestock sector. The consignment is expected to arrive by July this year.
According to the dzongkhag livestock officials, with over 4.3 million eggs produced by five commercial, six semi-commercial and small scale farms last year, the district is self-sufficient in egg production.