Chhimi Dema 

As an interim measure to address the egg shortage in the market, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests issued a notification on January 9 authorising Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited (BLDCL) to import eggs from India.

In Thimphu, within a week, the cost of a tray of eggs rapidly increased from Nu 450 to Nu 750.

BLDCL will import 35,000 trays of egg in a week, after which the import will depend on the demand in the market.

Eggs will be made available for Nu 285 to Nu 305 per tray, depending on the location of the dzongkhags.

The shortage of eggs in the market, according to the notification, is caused by the contaminated feed which has affected 485,245 layer birds, causing the daily egg production to drop from 382,490 eggs to 120,723 eggs.

Sanam Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor said that the drop in egg production has caused an acute shortage of eggs in the market, increasing the price of the produce. “The rise in price is not in the interest of the consumers.”

The import is an interim measure that is expected to end after four or five months.

Sanam Lyonpo said: “The egg production is increasing, along with the demand which means that we still have opportunities to work on increasing the production.”

He said that the import of the eggs is taking time because the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority has to conduct tests to determine the quality of the eggs.   

However, poultry farmers are not happy with the move.

Nima Lama, a farmer from Sarpang, said that such a move from the government was discouraging the farmers to produce.

If eggs are imported then the price that farmers fetch will drop, he said. “The egg price is high because the middlemen take their cut; the farm gate price is low.”