Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

With new layers in the farms, most of the poultry farmers in Tsirang and Dagana said that egg production is gradually picking up at an almost 50 percent recovery rate within a month.

However, with imported eggs hitting the market, they are worried about finding a market for local eggs amidst the increasing cost of production partially caused by the pandemic.  

A poultry farmer in Sergithang in Tsirang, San Man Subba, said that compared to the past few months when the production slumped due to feed contamination, his 1,500 layers now produce three cartons of eggs daily. “The production is increasing. I have recovered about 10 percent in the production.”

Last month, he sold 500 affected layers to a farmer in Sarpang.

He said that farmers were disappointed with the government’s decision to import eggs when the local production is increasing too. “We can never compete with the price of imported eggs.”

While a tray of imported eggs in Thimphu cost Nu 315, the price of local eggs from Tsirang and Dagana ranges between Nu 400 and Nu 450.

Earlier last month, as an interim measure to address the egg shortage in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests issued a notification authorising Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited to import eggs from India. After some weeks’ delay, the imported eggs were supplied to the market starting on February 5.

A poultry farmer in Tsirang, Passang Tamang, said that he has recovered 50 percent of production on his farm. “The imported eggs hit the market when we were starting to produce after months of struggle.”

More than 100 layers in his farm died from feed contamination in November. He received a compensation of Nu 58,000 from Karma Feed.

Tsirang is one of the second-highest egg-producing dzongkhags in the country.

Mon Regmi from Tsangkha in Dagana said that if the government could supply eggs to town areas where there is an acute shortage, local producers would be able to supply to other dzongkhags. “If such measures are taken, local producers won’t lose the market.”

About 60 percent of production has recovered over the past month on his farm.

Kul Prasad Bhandari from Kana said that egg production has yet to pick up on his farm with 400 layers. “Compared to two cartons in the past, my farm can produce only 20 eggs in a day.”

In November, he had to report the deaths of 600 layers on his farm. “With the gradual increase in local production, the prices of local eggs might drop. The import might not be necessary in the future.”