APA: Meat production in Trashigang has been declining by the year.

Production of beef dropped to 24MT in 2014 from 32MT in 2013. Production stood at 65MT in 2012. Similarly, production of pork dropped to 10MT in 2014 from 13MT in 2013.

For 2014-2015, the dzongkhag livestock office has set its Annual Performance Agreement (APA) target to produce 8.6MT of pork. Trashigang doesn’t produce chicken or fish.

Pork is produced only in the five gewogs of Lumang, Kangpara, Udzorong, Yangnyer and Khaling.

Apart from limited production of beef for self-consumption in livestock dependent gewogs like Merak and Sakteng, the meat is hardly produced in the dzongkhag today. The ban on slaughtering of animals imposed by the dzongkhag tshogdu in 2007 has drastically curbed beef production.

Dzongkhag livestock officer (DLO) NS Tamang said that despite the office encouraging farmers to take up meat production, religious sentiments and social stigma attached with slaughtering of animals has impeded any progress.

“We do provide financial assistance and technical support for those interested yet only few come forward with proposals,” he said. “Thus, we are focusing more on dairy and poultry farming in the dzongkhag.”

Even if farmers are interested, clearance from the community is one major factor that kills any such proposals from passing through.

“Self sufficiency in meat is a far fetched dream for Trashigang. Should production increase, it would also mean the quality of meat could be controlled but this is not happening anytime soon,” the DLO said.

However, change has started to set in but at a slow pace. This year, two semi-commercial piggery farms have come up at Bidung and Kanglung. Although small, the setting up of these farms could mean farmers are slowly opening up to the idea of meat production, livestock officials said.

Two small fisheries at Kangpara and Thrimshing and a large fishery at Lungtenzampa that spans over 100 acres are being established as well.

“But the possibilities of farmers willing to set up broiler farms is almost nil. It could take a very long time before Trashigang becomes self sufficient in meat,” the DLO said adding that during festivals, a truckload of meat gets sold in a day.

Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang