Nima  | Gelephu

Efforts to control egg price in Gelephu and Sarpang have not been successful.

Sarpang’s Covid-19 task force authorised Sarpang Layer Cooperative to collect eggs from its members and non-members from the dzongkhag’s eight gewogs.

The cooperative even launched marketing within and outside the dzongkhag during lockdown with the support from the task force. However, the price of eggs is on the rise in the market.

The egg, sold at Nu 303 per tray from the cooperative reaches as high as Nu 370 in the market today for the normal size eggs.

The chairman of the cooperative, Nima Lama, said the efforts were made to control the price to make it affordable for the consumers during lockdown.

“Some suppliers are taking advantage of the situation,” he said.

Last year, the cost for a carton of eggs was Nu 1200. Today, the cost has gone up to Nu 2,100 at the cooperative.

Since the nationwide lockdown, the cooperative collected over 4,000 cartons of eggs from the dzongkhag. The cooperative supplied surplus production to Thimphu, Punakha, and Wangdue with support from the taskforce and the relevant agencies.

The cooperative was formed in 2012 and had over 80 member farms last year. The number dropped to 13 members in June. There are over 20 member farms today.

The owner of B-COOP, Pema Namgyal, said the price was reasonable in the first few days of the lockdown. “Later, there were many supplying eggs in the town and the price started to fluctuate.”

He added that egg price at the agent was as suggested by the cooperative.

Brokers from outside the dzongkhag have started to collect eggs directly from farmers which could lead to price rise, according to the official from the cooperative.

Nima Lama said that the brokers were given permits to visit farms while they are made to collect eggs from the gewog centres to reduce the movement during the lockdown.

Officials from regional agriculture marketing and cooperatives said that there could be a slight increase in the price over the days. There was surplus egg supply during the lockdown and so drop in prices,” he said.

Sarpang layer cooperative is unable to pay the farmers because most farmers are not familiar with online transaction.

“The daily limit of online transfer amount is Nu 200,000. We have to pay over Nu 150,000 to one farmer, ” said Nima Lama.

Producing over 28.9 million eggs in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, Sarpang is one of the largest egg producers in the country. The dzongkhag produced over 28.6 million eggs in 2018-19.