The mill is currently producing only a fraction of what it potentially can

Animal Feed: Although established with a potential to produce 32 metric tonnes (MT) of animal feed a day, the medium scale Pema Feed Mill (PFM) in Trashigang produces only 4MT, today.

Partly funded by the Market Access and Growth Intensification Project (MAGIP), the feed plant is the first of its kind to have adopted the public private partnership model. This means the plant is a venture between the government and a private entity.

PFM manager Sangay Dendup attributed the low production to limited market accessibility given that the plant was commissioned only recently on September 20.

“Despite having started supplying to some of the eastern dzongkhags, we are still in the process of expanding our market outreach and building our human resources,” he said. “Should there be better demand and more manpower, we can produce at least 2MT of feed in an hour.”

The manager added their pricing is much lower than that in the market. For instance, the market rate for 50kg of layer feed (used for egg laying hens) is Nu 1,525 while PFM is selling it at Nu 1,350.

“Besides poultry feeds, we also produce cattle and pig feeds. Save for Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar, we supply feed to the remaining four eastern dzongkhags. So far, we sold about 465 bags of feed,” he said.

Given that the quality of the feed is a major priority, National Center for Animal Nutrition (NCAN) in Bumthang under the Department of Livestock (DoL) is providing technical assistance.

NCAN programme director, Jambay Gyeltshen, said they would be monitoring some of the activities in the feed mill and stress more on feed formulation.

“If PFM follows the formulation strictly, then the outcome would mean an increase in the productivity of animals and layers to about 98 percent,” he said.

NCAH will also be taking samples of the feeds to carry out laboratory tests in India to ensure all components are divided according to their required proportions. Two primary objectives of PFM, the programme director said, is to address the issue of distance and cost.

“For the past few years, the supply of feeds is becoming eratic because of the distance that takes to bring the feeds from Phuentsholing. For the same reason, the cost has escalated as well,” he said.

The commissioning of PFM is expected to address the issue of farmers pertaining to feeds in the east by selling at affordable prices while the company shall also make deliveries of farms wherever possible.

“Concentrate feed is very important to enhance the livestock production and productivity,” the director said. “But, it will take time for PFM to get used to the market and compete with Karma Feeds.”

Going by the record compiled by NCAN, the eastern region recorded the highest production of milk at 12,617MT as compared to the other three regions in 2014. There are 8,438 milking cows of improved breeds like Jerseys, 19,901 milking local breeds including zoms, 71,106 improved poultry birds and 1,781 exotic pigs in the six eastern dzongkhags.

Tshering Wangdi