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Egg Sector Grows in Bhutan

by 5m Editor
20 October 2009, at 8:35am

BHUTAN - Avian flu in India last year had mixed results for Bhutan's poultry industry: egg production in the Trashigang region picked up as imports were halted but further growth is prevented by a shortage of pullets.

With the import of egg from India banned for a long period of time, Trashigang farmers have found poultry as a lucrative business, reports Kuensel Online.

For many farmers in the dzongkhag, poultry farming is their first choice. In the three gewogs, Radhi, Phongmey and Shonphu, small-scale backyard farming is already rooted in egg production. A larger scale poultry undertaker in Trashigang, Pema Bakery, has more than 1,000 birds. In Lungtenzampa and Yonphula, a few groups of farmers almost finished constructing the poultry shed with a capacity of more than 500 birds.

But farmers will have to wait for months as there is an acute shortage of pullets (young female chicken) in the dzongkhag.

The senior district livestock officer of Trashigang, Dr Tshering Dorji, said that demand for pullets in the dzongkhag came to more than 20,000.

"The government breeding centres are not able to supply even a thousand pullets," he said. A few poultry farmers had to manage pullets from private supply.

The gewog livestock office in Radhi is simply filling farmers' application for poultry farming, but in vain. A staff from the livestock office said that most of the poultry breeding centres remained empty after the bird flu in India.

In November last year, Lingmethang, one of main pullets breeding centres in the east, had to stop production. This was due to bird flu in India and even the routes were closed from Guahati for pullet transportation, said the farm manager. Recently, around 2,000 BV-380 commercial chicks were transported through flight from Delhi, the only route. By December this year, they will be distributed equally to the six eastern dzongkhags.

The manager told Kuensel Online that Lingmethang is looking to re-start with incubation test for BV-380 commercial chicks this time. If the eggs are fertilized and tests successful, the pullets could be supplied to meet the demand of farmers in the east. People want to start the poultry farming because of the quality, price and good market for eggs, he said.