Meat vendors are running out of the beef supply in their stores. Beef is as inclusive an item on every household menu, as the staple diet of rice. Some of the shops in the lower market in Thimphu near the Centenary Farmer’s Market were closed on Wednesday due to shortage of beef supply.
The meat shop owners said the problem is mainly due to the increase in the price of the beef from Jaigaon, India.
The price of beef at source, in the Indian border town Jaigaon, is at Nu 150 per kilogram. Such prices are affecting the meat vendors in the local markets as they don’t have a profit margin when the sell the beef in Bhutan. Vendors say, unlike local beef, they can’t charge more.
The local vendors usually sell about 300-400kgs of beef which is apparently not the case these days. And because they can’t bring the meats from Jaigaon, they have to manage with what they get locally.
However, the meat stalls that sell a variety of other meats like pork, chicken, and fish are not as badly affected as the stalls that sell beef.
Makcha, a meat shop at the Sunday vegetable market is the only meat shop in Thimphu that has the beef stock at the moment. A sizeable crowd of customers wait inside and outside the shop.
There are also beef consumers who are on the lookout for new stock in other meat stalls. Makcha Meat Shop owner said that he had earlier sold around 700-800kgs of beef per day at Nu 120 per kilogram, but these days he sells around 200-300kgs of beef per week due to the costly price of local beef, at Nu.180 per kilogram. He said that the beef supply to his meat shop comes from Tsirang.
The meat shop owners and customers are worried about the scarcity of beef. Some of the customers said that they have visited the meat shop several times, whenever they reach the shop the beef is sold out.
Sangay Dorji, a customer at D.K meat shop said he needs the beef on the menu for his puja (ritual) being held soon. He said he bought other meats like pork and chicken, but need beef.
He said he came to Thimphu, all the way from Jabana, just to buy beef, but has had no luck even on his fourth trip to the city.
The owner of Seven Star Meat shop said his shop has no beef stock. He said not having meat varieties in the shop is affecting his business. Customers go where there are meat varieties, and because of lack of beef, there are no customers visiting his shop.
Many of the meat shops are closed these days due to the lack of beef supply.