Highlanders of Thimphu have adequate food stocks

Thinley Namgay 

Should the country enter a lockdown situation, in terms of the food reserve, Thimphu dzongkhag is prepared. 

According to a recent food assessment survey, of the eight gewogs under the dzongkhag, 870 households had food stocks that could last for a month, while the other 400 households had a two-month stock, and 308 households had enough stocks for three months. 

As per the dzongkhag’s capacity assessment of expected vegetable outcome (April, May, and June), it could produce 49,250kg of beans and 27,500kg of potatoes in June. In the next two months, the dzongkhag could produce 14,800kg of cauliflower and 38,100kg of cabbage. 

 The dzongkhag’s expected livestock production for April, May, and June are 384.305MT of milk, 14.522MT of butter, 10.1293MT of cheese, 10.12 million numbers of eggs and 7.48MT of pork. 

 Gewogs, located at a higher altitude, have sufficient stock to sustain if the Covid-19 situation becomes worse.

According to the dzongkhag response plan, at least 65 households in Lingzhi have enough food stocks to sustain for three months. 

Lingzhi Gup, Wangdi, said that the gewog is comfortable with the food reserve. “Every year, we buy food items from Thimphu and Paro at the beginning of the year. It is not due to the Covid-19 issue.”

He said that with rice, flour, oil, butter and cheese available, most people visit the town mainly to buy vegetables. “During summer we grow the vegetables in the villages.”  

As instructed by the government, people in villages are taking adequate measures in the wake of the Covid-19 issue in the country, the gup said. Gewog administration has been sensitising people on Covid-19. 

With over 500 people, Lingzhi has five chiwogs with 96 households. 

According to the response plan, Soe gewog has at least 10 households that have enough food stock to last for three months.   

Soe Gup, Kencho Dorji, said that the gewog could comfortably sustain for the next five to six month. “In the absence of road connectivity and heavy snowfall during winter, we start collecting food items at the beginning of the year.” 

However, he said that some households in the gewog might not be able to afford the food items if the situation continues for a longer duration. 

To help these groups of people, the gewog administration has written to the dzongkhag seeking support from the Food Corporation of Bhutan Ltd (FCBL). 

There are five chiwogs with 28 households in Soe. 

In Naro gewog, there are at least nine households that have food supplies to sustain for three months. There are 45 households with food stock to last for a month, and 20 households have supplies to last for two months. 

Naro Gup, Wangchuk, said that unlike Lingzhi and Soe gewogs, if the situation becomes complicated, it would affect his gewog. “Naro is near to the capital city, and most people here usually don’t stock up their supplies.”

Naro has five chiwogs and 310 people. 

Meanwhile, people with underlying health conditions are relatively low in the three highland communities according to the response plan. Of the 321 people with some health conditions in the dzongkhag, 11 are in Lingzhi. Soe and Naro have only three to four such cases.

The number of elderly (60 years and above) people is also less in Lingzhi, Soe and Naro with 50, 17 and 21 respectively. The three gewogs also have zero poverty rates as per their local government portal.

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