The owner of the farm is aiming to rear 300 cattle 

Livestock: It is raining as Kinzang Namgay, together with his five helpers start their morning at 7am in a large cattle shed, in Lungtenzampa, Trashigang.

This is no ordinary cattle shed.

For the first time in the eastern region, a private individual has started commercial livestock farming on a large scale. It will also function as a breeding centre.

Businessman Kinzang Namgay hopes to start supplying cows to interested farmers across the six eastern dzongkhags shortly. He has already started supplying milk to the dairy processing centre at Chenari.

It all started when Kinzang saw people in India earning huge profits through commercial livestock farming but at the same time found them misleading innocent farmers through fraudulent practices.

“And when the Chenari plant started, I was all the more motivated to take up the idea that would benefit farmers and myself in the long run,” he says.

Farmers would first avail loans through the Business Opportunity and Information Centre (BOIC). The loan money would be directly deposited in Kinzang’s account and he would immediately supply the cows.

“Then, farmers need not go through the tiresome process of sourcing cows from India, which also entails huge travel risks and time,” he says. “Through my experience in cattle farming, I can pick the best cows for the farmers without much hassle.”

After keeping cows for 15 days at the quarantine station in Samdrupjongkhar, Kinzang goes on to explain how instances have surfaced where famers had to take back the cows to India after failing inspection tests at Serbithang in Thimphu.

“There are risks, in particular, to the pregnant cows when farmers transport these cows all the way from India,” he says.

However, he adds that the rates, in the first few years, would be higher compared to the ones sourced through government support. Today, farmers source jerseys and Holstein Friesian (HF), both which are breeds of cattle, from India.

Today a milk giving HF costs from about Nu 60,000 to Nu 110,000 and a jersey ranges from Nu 40,000 to Nu 80,000. The government provides farmers with subsidies and free transportation costs till the road point in Bhutan. Besides, famers are also provided with technical and other support for dairy farming.

“Initially, my rate would be about Nu 30,000 higher than the rates in India. After I start breeding cows, the cost should drop,” Kinzang says.

To start a breeding centre, he has already procured a breeding bull. Artificial insemination (AI) is also on the cards for future.

“I have bought another patch of land at Chazam where sheds would be constructed entirely for the pregnant cows and calves. When the calves mature to heifers, I will sell them to farmers at a much lower cost,” he says.

He is also urging farmers to grow fodder grasses in their fallow fields and in return, he would buy it from them at Nu 10 per bundle. This, he says would immensely benefit the farmers and improve the use of arable land.

Further, Kinzang plans to produce energy by using biogas produced through manure in the backyard of his cattle shed. The filtered manure syrup would then be sold at Nu 6,000 per truckload to the Renewable Natural Resources Research Development Centre at Wengkhar.

His new business venture has already secured support from the 15 gewogs in Trashigang through the dzongkhag tshogdu. His first booking of eight cows has come from Phongmey.

Currently, he has sourced 18 HFs from India and another 30 jerseys from Gelephu. He already has an additional 12 Jerseys. He hopes to increase the number to 300 someday.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang