Livestock: With no religious sentiments attached and an option to earn income everyday from selling milk and dairy product, dairy farming is picking up in Samdrupjongkhar, a report compiled by the dzongkhag’s livestock sector indicated.

The report also indicated that there are less people opting for livestock farming like piggery and poultry production, hindering the livestock officials in meeting their target.

There are about 12 dairy cooperatives across the dzongkhag’s 11 gewogs. The groups export more than 345 metric tonnes of fresh milk in a year on an average.

The groups produce about 2,500 liters of milk everyday, which are mainly sold as fresh milk and dairy products.

Dzongkhag livestock officer, Thinley Rabten, said the milk production has been increasing every year and it always exceeded the annual target.

The record maintained by livestock sector shows the sector had targeted about 1,500MT of milk production in a year.

The most potential dairy groups are in Orong, Gomdar and Dewathang gewogs that have more than 70 members each.

Thinley Rabten said since dairy production is increasing, they intend to combine gewogs like Martshala, Pemathang and Phuntshothang into one dairy group.

“This year we will try to develop and strengthen dairy groups in most potential areas based on the achievement through Comprehensive market focused Agriculture and Rural Livelihood Enhancement Project fund,” he said. “The main focus would be on commercialisation purely based on the dairy chain.”

Livestock officials said egg production is also more than the target as per the annual performance agreement.

However, it was different for piggery and poultry production.

Livestock officials said it is difficult to form cooperatives for piggery and chicken in the villages because only few farmers come forward.

Thinley Rabten said many depend on dairy instead of practicing diverse farming.

This, he said, was because apart from religious sentiments, the farmers find dairy production more sustainable and also convenient, as they can sell milk anytime and earn but it would take about nine months to get a pig ready for sale.

Records showed that not even half of the targets for chicken production was met with only 4.027MT out of 30MT target this financial year while only 16MT out of 17MT have achieved in piggery farming.

Thinley Rabten said they face budget constraints and they requested newly elected local leaders to explore and utilise few of the gewog development grant in livestock sector.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar