To ‘meat’ a huge demand

A processing unit is to be set up in Serbithang to reduce dependence on imports

DoL: The department of livestock (DoL) will soon establish a meat-processing unit in Serbithang, Thimphu.

Last year, Bhutan imported 10,336MT (metric tonnes) of meat products worth Nu 1.37 billion from India and Thailand. Bhutan is the highest per capita meat consumer in South Asia, with about 13.5kg of meat per capita annually, according to DoL.

Dr Tashi Samdup, director of DoL, said that the department initiated the project because there was a demand for meat products in the country.

“Demand is very high and that’s draining our economy,” said Dr Tashi Samdup. “With the establishment of the meat-processing plant, people will have choices of quality processed at an affordable price.”

The unit will process meat products like ham, bacon, meat balls, minced meat, sausages, frozen and smoked chicken and chicken cuts, among others, for high-end hotels as well as for household consumption.

Tshewang Tashi, project coordinator from the Department of Livestock, said that the country has the capacity to produce processed meat. “The import figure is quite big for a small country like ours. It’s quite alarming.”

The processing unit in Thimphu will adhere to the highest nutrition and safety standards, added Tshewang Tashi.  The processing plant will process at least 10 to 15 pigs and 500 to 800 chickens per week.

There are about 143 chicken farms in the country that produces to 262MT of meat annually.  The chicken production in 2012 was 711MT, which increased to more than 900MT in 2013.  There are more than 600 fish farmers in the country.

The processing plant is expected to encourage farmers to take up broiler farming because of a ready market.

“A small country like ours can’t depend on huge imports like this,” said Tshewang Tashi.

The government has approved Nu 675M for the meat processing plant, and to increase meat self-sufficiency in the country.  The livestock department had been given more than 814 acres of land for farms in Samrang, Samdrupjongkhar.

The work for building the farms has started with fish farming on 50 acres of land.  The Samrang livestock farming will have pig, chicken, buffalo and goat farms.

A project to build fatter farm for 2000 pigs in Yusipang, Thimphu, and a turkey farm in Relangthang, Sarpang, is underway.  The department plans to start broiler farming in Sarpang.

Tshewang Tashi said the import of meat products would gradually slow down once the plant was operational. “But we’ll have to stress on quality, packaging and delivery. We might be able to produce a beef breed too.”

According to a study carried out by DoL, Thimphu, Paro and Bumthang have the biggest market for processed meat products in the country.

“We’ll make sure animals are slaughtered in a professional way, like stunning down, making the animal unconscious,” said Dr Tashi Samdup. “We have to consider how much we’re spending on the import of meat. We are targeting to get 100 percent food self-sufficiency.”

The department also has plans to export meat products to Malaysia, Singapore and Hyderabad in India.

By Dechen Tshomo

11 replies
  1. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART SIX ( slaugther house)

    The skin of animal can be tranformed in hide . and pelt can be used in clothes .
    A new industry could be created : leatherwork . Horn can be used in sculpture to the craft shops .

    Expert could introduce tracing the meat from breeding place up to the carcass . So health controls will be facilitated.

    I apologize for a so long comment ; but it is important for the country .

  2. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART FIVE ( slaugter house )
    In this article , not a word about the problem of wastes
    Some of them could be converted into grease by strong heating ; and give manure ; the animals being bred with organic way , no danger for health

    And can be used as bones meal for fatting pork and fish .

    It takes part of the food processing industry

  3. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART FOUR concerning slaughter house
    Building a so big unit ( slaugter house) is difficult for the actual Govrnement . Nobody in the country has the knowledge to built so
    So the best solution is to buy turnkey project and solution factory for this unit

    I tkink to german , amarican experts who can come with their how know and could teach workers . . An could furnish the whole aquipment .

  4. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART THREE
    Answer to Khotsa
    ( answer ) To earn money , it is necessary to go abroad ; But it is very difficult to have visa to work ; the best : Australia , India , New Zeland for estern country ; but the top best is USA , UK , CANADA , GERMANY . Question What do you think about budism precepts : it is good for the country ambiance ; it is mostly practised by peasant and monks . . But according us , youths , we are worried for our future . Budism pratice do not give us work !! look on the number of jobseekers . And the number of suicides !

    Dear Khotsa , I am worried too for youths ! And for your country I love so much

  5. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART TWO
    Answer to Khotsa
    Above my hotel , there is a coffee bar with full of youths . They are very fund of occidental way of living : all have connection with google , twiter , blog , facebook . They know many things about the world .
    Question : have you take party of mask dances ? Answer : oh no ; it is the peasant who do that ; Question : what do you think about Tsechus ; Answer that is very good for turism , therefore for finances of the country Question : what do you seek in the life ? . Answer : earn money and work in a pleasant place which fit to me with future expansion . But in our country , our futur is blocked .

  6. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART ONE
    Answer to khotsa : The first time i went to Bhutan , i was astonish by the number of meals with meat . Since that , i have undestood that Budism precepts was different according the aera : in rural aera , precepts are deeply followed . Instead in big town , and more among youths ( 18-25 Years old ) , budism precepts are “lightly” followed . I had a chat number times with many of them .
    I quote a littlel some opinion with a strict anonymous respect

  7. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART THREE

    The impact on the number of jobseeckers will be a good thing for the country .

    Other productions to enhance is , for example , the industry of vineyard . Tourists will be happy to drink a wine made in Bhutan with an organic way .

    I have in mind other ideas to give hope for youths to create firm and process .

    Go on youths and do not despair !!!

  8. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART TWO

    The production line need engineers to follow the entire process of the production line ;
    a good thing for the cooks to creates meals very varied . I remind the complains of the tourist who tell to the hotels and restaurants that meals are not varied .
    Does it exist schools for butchers and cook to learn different manners to cut the meat and prepare it ?

  9. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    PART ONE
    Very well informed article ; with clear diagrammes . This self sufficent policy goes in the interest of the country .
    But the production line need a little non skilled workers , but many skilled labour ; Like cooks , veterinaries to check quality at many levels ; technician to keep the machines of the slaugter house in good state of running ; so to have a stock of spare parts .
    It need frozen machine and freezer trucks ; and the most butchers

    END PART ONE .

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