Application for a second animal feed unit caught in environment clearance red tape

A proposal for a second animal feed unit for Bhutan, proposed by two entrepreneurs in the East, is still on paper after the National Environment Commission (NEC) rejected it saying their environment impact report was not satisfactory.

Their proposal was submitted last December following a rising demand for a feed unit in the east as farmers found it expensive to procure it from Phuentsholing.

But the entrepreneurs could not elaborate enough on how they could mitigate the environment impact which led the NEC to give a “not justified” remark on their arguments.

Emergence of more livestock enterprises like dairy, pig and poultry in the East had caused difficulties for the farmers to acquire feed.

Kencho Gyeltshen from Trashigang, said that Karma Feeds, the only enterprise in this sector, cannot meet the required demand. They supply through feed sale agencies that do not have enough stock sometimes.    Moreover, the feed becomes expensive due to transportation costs once it reaches the East. The feed quality also suffers owing to the time it takes to reach the destination.

One major reason for rejecting the proposal was that the entrepreneurs did not provide a detailed site plan, a basic requirement for clearance from NEC.

“Without complete application we cannot do anything,” Deputy Chief Environmental Officer Tashi Penjore said.

But the Director of National Food and Fodder Development Programme, Jambay Gyeltshen, said a feed mill is just as good as a rice or a flour mill, without any inorganic and harmful effluents from the mill  adding that the entrepreneurs should have returned to NEC with a clearer report.

But a feed unit is necessary for the East considering the demand. There are three government livestock farms in Arong, Trashiyangphu and Lingmethang and 43 dairy groups in the East who rear around 3,800 jersey cows.

“The production performance of the livestock animals in the east is far below their production potentials, which is solely attributed to the lack of good feed and fodder base in the East,” said Pema, an applicant for the feed unit.

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