Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Dorokha drungkhag has 300 cartons of eggs, 180kg of butter and 1,300 balls of cheese to supply to Thimphu. These are surplus the farmers of Dorokha, Denchukha and Dumtey gewogs in the drungkhag collected.

On August 20, about 390 cartons of eggs, 200kg butter, and 1,500 balls of cheese worth more than Nu 1 million were delivered to Thimphu in eight Bolero pickup trucks. The transport costs are borne by the farm owners.

But the journey to the capital is daunting. With Phuentsholing declared a “red zone,” vehicles take the Samtse-Haa highway via Sombaykha.

Despite bad road conditions, Dorokha drungpa Karma Jurmi said it was the only option.

“We had to explore an alternative route since we have lots of surplus produce and cannot afford to wait any longer because we lack storage facilities,” he said. “Further, there is a huge demand in the capital.”

Drungpa Karma Jurmi said the road between Dorokha and Sombaykha is unstable and vehicles have to cross two streams, which swell frequently due to heavy rainfall. Only four-wheel-drive vehicles can ply on the road.

Since there are no bridges over Kuchaychhu and Piunichhu, if the vehicles get stranded, it would take hours or even days until the water level subsides.

There are about 26 layer poultry farms with at least 14,600 birds. The 28 members of Lhop Dairy Group and 30 members of Dorokha Gonor Detshen contribute the dairy products.

Poultry farmers fear egg supply would stop soon as feed is running out.

One poultry farmer Samel Rai said poultry farmers are facing feed problem as the main agent is in Phuentsholing.

“Phuentsholing is declared as a red zone so we are unable to get feed.”

Drungpa Karma Jurmi said the feeds are now almost ready to be transshipped from Amochhu and are expected to reach by evening today.

“We have mobilised the vehicles for the transshipment and the dzongkhag administration has completed the formalities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Bolero pickup trucks that transport dairy products and farm produce to Thimphu travel in convoy escorted by officials as per the safety protocol.

All the drivers and the official accompanying the drivers undergo an antigen test and produce Covid-19 free certificate. Vehicles are not allowed to stop on the way except for toilet break.

Vehicles directly deliver the consignments and return without halting in Thimphu. Drivers also carry their packed meals and a kerosene stove to cook meals in places without settlement.