Chimi Dema | Tsirang
Four days ago, Ap Dorji, a retired civil servant and dairy farmer in Gosarling gewog, Tsirang was worried about supplying excess dairy products from his farm.
He usually supplies the products to Punakha.
However, after the vehicles movement was restricted since the government announced nationwide lockdown on August 11, Ap Dorji was not able to sell the products. The dzongkhag livestock sector had to walk in to collect the products from farmers.
He said that the initiative came as a relief to many farmers who were worried about repaying loans after they couldn’t sell the products.
Ap Dorji supplied about 150 cheese balls and five kilograms of butter to the sector yesterday.
Senior Dzongkhag Livestock Officer, Gyem Tshering, said that the dzongkhag was comfortable in terms of livestock produce supply. “If everything goes well, we might be able to produce surplus,” he said.
Besides feeding residents of the dzongkhag, livestock products from Tsirang are being supplied to Thimphu and Punakha.
The sector supplied 4,500kgs of chicken and 5,000 cheese balls to Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation (BLDC) in Thimphu yesterday.
About 900 cheese balls and 35kgs of butter has been supplied to Punakha.
As of yesterday, the sector collected surplus dairy products, 1,400 cheese balls and 70kgs of butter from four gewogs of Kilkhorthang, Semjong, Gosarling, and Doonglagang.
Gyem Tshering said that the collection from other gewogs was underway. “The surplus produce would be supplied to other dzongkhags based on demand.”
The sector has also supplied around 400 cartons of eggs (210 eggs per carton) to BLDC recently. The sector is expecting to supply 800 cartons of eggs today.
Tsirang, the second-largest egg-producing dzongkhag, has about 91,400 layer birds in 115 farms.
Today, with feed agents running short of supplies due to restriction on vehicle movement, one of the main concerns of Tsirang poultry farmers is feeding the birds.
Gyem Tshering said that the agents managed to get about 300 bags of feed from Gelephu on August 17.
“But the agents have run out of supply,” he said. If the lockdown continues and we keep on facing problems with getting animal feed, our poultry farms would be affected.”
Tsirang has enough vegetables except for potato, tomato, and onion.
Dzongkhag Agriculture officer, Dorji Gyeltshen, said that the sector was getting potatoes from Wangdue. “For tomato and onion, we have submitted a requisition to the department of agriculture for help.”
In terms of chilies, the dzongkhag is managing with supplies from Wangdue to distribute in schools and institutions.
Dorji Gyeltshen said that as it is off-season for summer crops and nursery period for winter vegetables, there is hardly surplus supply this time.
In addition, the continuous rainfall over the past months has affected vegetables production.