Thinley Namgay  

The demand for meat has increased in the capital as the saga dawa month begins from February 10 and meat shops will remain closed for a month.

Despite hike in meat prices due to the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for meat is high because of celebrations such as lochoe.

On average, 20-30 people visit meat shops every day.

Currently, a kg of dried beef costs Nu 1,500-1,600, which is more than double compared with pre-Covid days. Sikam (dried pork) costs Nu 650 per kg. Fish and chicken cost Nu 300 per kg, and fresh beef Nu 400 per kg.

Except for chicken, meat products are being imported. According to meat dealers, people prefer local beef from Tsirang, which is not available in the market.

Partap, a meat seller, said that he ordered 300kg beef, fish, and chicken, but demand for beef was always high. “Nowadays, we don’t get beef from Tsirang due to the pandemic. Even if we order, price from the source is Nu 400 per kg, leading to price rise in Thimphu.”

“Due to high price from domestic source, I order frozen beef from India, which is cheaper. Around 30-40 customers visit my shop every day,” said Partap.

Ugyen Lhamo, a meat vendor, said that some ordered early to dry.

Garjaman Subba, also a meat vendor, said he usually sold about 400kg of meat within 10 days. “Officials from the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority are constantly monitoring us. They check the condition of meat.”

Lal Bahadur Galley said that most meat dealers in the country had to bring meat from Dagana and Tsirang.