Availability of limited meat supply to be an issue if Lockdown prolongs

Meat shortage in the country began since the outbreak of Covid-19. To contain the spread of the virus, the government banned the import of meat except for frozen and packaged meats.

Since there is a limited meat industry in the country the supply was limited and the meat shops faced an issue in getting meat.

Now with the lockdown, there is no movement and no supply of meat. Meat shops are left with few stocks which was there before the lockdown and it is on the verge of finishing.  The Bhutanese talked with few of the meat vendors in Thimphu.

 A meat vendor in Babesa said that he has some stocks of chicken and fish and it will be finished within two to three days.

“Since there is no movement, we cannot bring the meat from the sources and also we cannot import as the country is under lockdown. The stock I have is almost finished and here after I have to close my shop since there will be no meat, “he said.

Owner of DK meat shop said, “Currently my shop has 300 kilos of frozen beef and pork wasn’t available since the outbreak of the disease and chicken has also finished. My shop will remain closed after I am done with selling the remaining stock of frozen beef since there will be no meat in the market,” he said.

He said that it is going to hit the meat business across the country and he is worried about how he will pay the rent for meat shop space and the staffs.

Another meat vendor, owner of Makcha Meat Shop also said that he is left with few kilos of frozen beef and 7 kilo of chicken and after that if there is no supply he has to close his business.

 Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Jigme Wangchuk said that if the lockdown prolongs in the country and other neighboring countries, the availability of meat will be scarce.

 “Currently the meat is available but in terms of pork it is limited at the moment. We have fish as the farmers are producing fish from fish farms in the country. And when it comes to chicken and egg it is available, however, with lockdown here and restrictions in other countries we are not able to import the parent stock for the production of egg,” he said.

He said that the parent stock in the country at the moment is old and in every cycle they have to change the parent stock.

“If this parent stock is not imported then at a point of time there will be no production unless the government brings the parent stock in the country,” he said.

He added, “The pork is in the farm but the gestation period for pork takes seven months which means for a piglet to become a pig. The stock we had has almost finished and the current pork amount is small. However, the production of pork is less in the country and huge number of pork and beef are being imported from other countries.”

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