Choki Wangmo | Tsirang
A frustrated grocery shop owner in Damphu town, Zangmo, has been trying to contact poultry farmers in the dzongkhag.
She was worried that she would not be able to meet the egg demand for the dzongkhag hospital.
With an ongoing egg shortage in the second highest egg producing dzongkhag in the country, shopkeepers, vendors, and residents are disappointed.
A vegetable vendor, Doli, hoarded a carton of eggs for nyilo.
He contacted poultry farmers in the dzongkhag but could only find one carton, which cost him Nu 3,500. In the past, he paid Nu 2,600 for a carton. “Most of the poultry farms are closed and the production has hit a record low. The size of the eggs is also smaller.”
Shopkeepers who hoarded eggs are now selling a tray of eggs at Nu 500, which used to cost Nu 380.
A Damphu resident said that with no egg production from the farms, she is resorting to eggs produced by indigenous breeds of chickens.
Some residents allege that since egg prices are higher in Thimphu, poultry farmers and egg dealers take everything that is produced at the farms to the capital city, leaving nothing for Tsirang residents.
The situation, however, is different according to the poultry farm owners.
They claimed that with issues in Karma Feed’s product called ‘Layer Mash’ that caused deaths among chickens and pullets earlier this month, the egg production has hit record lows.
Those poultry farms that have not totally shut down can produce only about five eggs daily.
A successful poultry farmer in Sergithgang, San Man Subba, said that out of 5,800 layers on his farm, 3,000 died. “Only 1,000 broilers out of 4,000 are left on my farm. I used to produce 3.5 cartons of egg in the past but now I collect only about five eggs.”
He said that most of the poultry farmers have been affected by the issues in the feed and some are already bankrupt. “The company has not reduced the price of feed, even during such situations.
Farmers cannot afford feed when the production is zero.”
A bag of layer feed costs Nu 1,900.
Farmers, he said, were told that production levels would improve within 14 days, but the situation hasn’t changed even after a month.
Phurba Moktan’s farm in Mendrelgang has been closed for almost a month.
She said that after her layers and 400 pullets died, there has been no egg production.
EMT Poultry Farm in Gosarling supplies eggs to Thimphu and Tsirang when the production is good. The farm, however, has also suffered since last month. The layers’ feathers fell off and egg production went down.
An employee, Choki Dema, said that during normal production, a batch of layers (125-128) could produce more than 80 eggs. “We used to supply shops and vendors in Damphu, but now we cannot.”
A Doonglagang farmer said that egg production is expected to drop further in the gewog.
Tsirang dzongkhag’s senior livestock officer Gyem Tshering said that although the dzongkhag produced 27.7 million eggs last year, the egg production in the dzongkhag has yet to improve. “Due to problems with the feed, egg production has been badly affected.”