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Poultry farmer’s group in Bhutan: An innovation in support for agricultural inputs and marketing

by ruchita last modified Jan 22, 2014 08:09 PM

Sep 25, 2009

Poultry farmer’s group in Bhutan: An innovation in support for agricultural inputs and marketing

Inception meeting of poultry farmers

“Kuenphen Ugyen Tshogpa” is the name of the recently formed Poultry Farmers’ Group in the Kawang block of Thimphu District of Bhutan. Comprising of seven farmers, this first and only poultry group legally came into force on July 31, 2009. The four days training of the group, on the poultry management and By-laws, commenced on August 12, 2009.

The group has been formed to contribute to the egg requirement of the Thimphu Town throughout the year. This will reduce the import of eggs from neighbouring countries like India while also reducing the pressure on the Government Farms. In Bhutan, people in groups are entitled to receive better support in terms of agricultural inputs and funding than when it is sought by an individual farmer. The head of the village gathers the farmers who are briefed by the Livestock Officers of that area about the benefits of forming a group. Thereafter, the farmers interested in rearing poultry, while also having the capacity to buy the pullets, submit their candidature to be a part of the group.

Kawang is one of the potential blocks in the Thimphu District to sustain Poultry husbandry. Earlier in the year 2005 some farmers took interest in establishing small back yard poultry farms with the help of Livestock officer Mr Towchu Rabgay and Dy. Chief Livestock officer, Mr Phurpa Tenzing, from the District head office. The poultry farms set up were successful as the farmers started fetching good incomes from their farms.  Farmers were frequently trained on modern poultry management practices. The practices adopted by this group set a role model for the surrounding villages and even in the other districts of the Country.

This practice was also shortlisted to be documented as one of the Potential Good Practices by the South Asia Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Programme in year 2008. However, owing to the outbreak of Bird Flu in the neighbouring countries, the supply of replacement stocks suffered. It was too expensive to import these stocks from other certified and bird flu free countries. This forced the farmers to either completely shut down their farms or keep just a few birds that could meet their home consumption requirements.

Although the government set – up a new hatchery in Paro Central Poultry farm, the DOC produced were not able to meet the demand of even the nearby farms. The trend continued and on 31st July 2009, the Livestock officer and Dy. Chief Livestock officer, of the Thimphu Dzongkhag again took an initiative to facilitate forming the farmers’ group to mainstream poultry farming along with other livestock activities.

The first poultry farmers’ group -“Kuenphen Ugyen Tshogpa”, in the district comprises of seven farmers from Boegana. The members formally signed an agreement while the chairman and treasurer were unanimously decided by the group. The Livestock department has supplied 43 numbers of pullets (8 weeks old) to every member of the group at the rate of Rs 100 per pullet. In addition each member has contributed Rs 200/- towards the entry fee to the group. This contribution shall be maintained as the seed money in the group. According to the group by-laws each farmer has to  contribute the cost of 4 eggs per tray towards the savings of the group. Out of this the cost of one egg is deposited in the Current deposit Account of the Poultry Farmers’ group; the cost of 2 eggs is returned to the group members after every 6 months (This ensures some savings and are generally released during the time of some festival or when the new school session starts); and the cost of 1 egg is given to the person who goes to the market to sell the eggs, towards his salary and transportation charges. The cost of one egg in Bhutan is Rs 12.

The eggs produced from each household of the group members are brought to the group for marketing. This saves the farmers from spending individually on the transportation of the eggs to the market.

It is hoped that the above initiative shall, in time, contribute significantly to the demand for eggs in the region.

Contributed by - Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan