Neten Dorji | Trashigang

The closure of restaurants, hotels, bakeries and schools following the lockdown has affected the business of poultry farmers in Trashigang.

Owners are scrambling to find means to sell their eggs.

A poultry farmer in Radhi, Yeshi Dorji before the lockdown sold more than 10,500 eggs a week. His farm at Khardung has 1,300 hens.

“When lockdown hit, business for eggs slumped drastically,” he said. “About 95 percent of my customers stopped buying and I had a huge stock without a market to sell.”

He has more than 30 cartons eggs in surplus and is waiting for help from dzongkhag livestock officials.

Another poultry farmer in Radhi, Dorji Drapa, has the same problem of surplus eggs. He said he had 1,500 hens laying eggs on his farm in Radhi.

“We lost about 70 percent of our market.”

To sell the surplus said farm owners, they need support from livestock officials where they can deliver to other places.  “Before lockdown, a bulk order of eggs could be delivered to a wholesaler, but to deliver the same amount of eggs now required markets,” said Dorji Drakpa.

He said a lot of local restaurants and villagers will not be in the market to buy eggs so poultry farms need the support.

Another poultry owner, Pema Dorji said he had delivered his egg to Kanglung wholesaler recently.  “I don’t have any excess eggs at the moment, but products are still there at other farms and some will have a surplus.  We need support,” he added.

Farm owner said the restriction of movement also does not allow customers to access his farm. “Even when we are allowed to deliver to wholesalers, they are not allowed to open shops for sales as usual, except few shops allowed by the government to deliver essential items,” said a farm owner.

The nationwide lockdown has affected access to bird feed and delivery of eggs.

Nima Tshering, who has a poultry farm at Buna, said that most of the farms are running out of feed and grower feed for pullets.  “Without customers to sell our eggs, we cannot buy feed,” he said.

The lockdown has affected the movement of feed and other necessities, which has led to the death of the birds and fall in his production of eggs.

“Farmers can’t go out to buy feed and moreover, there is no feed in Trashigang town,” said Nima Tshering. “Now, the business has turned upside down.”

Nima Tshering’s farm also supplies pullets to farmers in Trashigang. “I am worried about supplying the pullets now and they would die without grower feed.”

Meanwhile, Dzongkhag Livestock Officer, Naina S Tamang said there were about 140 cartons of eggs surplus in Trashigang and other livestock products.

“We are already talking with Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation in Thimphu to transport surplus eggs and other livestock products within three to four days,” he said.  “We are also supplying door to door in the town.”

He said without key ingredients to add in feeds, all three mills are idle and they also reported about feeds. “We can produce feeds here if key ingredients are available.”