Nowadays meat shop vendors are selling only pork, chicken and fish. The vendors say beef import has stopped for more than a month and this is not good as sale of beef fetches in the most business for them.
The beef supply in the mar¬ket has stopped due to the in-crease in price of the meat by the suppliers in India. Talking to one of the vendors in the market, DK meat shop, the hike in price is around Nu 165-175 per kilogram, which is the rate being sold in Thimphu.
The meat vendors pay sepa-rate charges for transportation and with the price hike in India, it makes no economic sense for them to sell the costly beef at the current fixed rates. Thereby, meat vendors have stopped ordering because of losses they will have to bear with the mismatch of prices.
A representative of the meat vendors’ tshogpa, Ma-hindra Ghalley, said, “After the supplier has increased the price of beef, and charging us Nu 180 per kg, we were not able to bring it here.”
There were a few shops selling local beef ordered from Tsirang, but with the huge de¬mand for beef, the supply has dwindled.
“In such a situation when our business is not running well, we face the difficulty in paying the house rent and we are not able to pay the staff,” said Ghalley who owns Himalayan Meat Shop. Prior to the price hike in India, his shop sold 100-200 kgs of meat in a day.
Similarly, he said there has been increase in the price of the pork in India. The pork sold here is at Nu 175 per kg while the price charged by suppliers in India is Nu 180 per kg. This increase has forced even the meat vendors in Phuentsholing to sell pork at Nu 200 per kg.
“We brought 200-300 kgs of pork last time for Nu 170 per kg, but we ran into a loss, so we are not able to bring pork as well this time,” Ghalley added.
Ever since the meat shops opened after the Losar, the shops have been running out of beef. The meat vendors are anxious about the state of their business as the shops will soon have to close down for a month starting from June that co¬incides with the auspicious month in the Bhutanese calendar.
Meanwhile, many meat consum¬ers are on the lookout for beef at the meat shops. Thimphu residents prefer beef over chicken and pork, and fish comes in last. “I didn’t know that the price has increased by so much. Recently, I bought beef (with bone), a little more than a kilogram, I paid Nu 305,” said So¬nam, a private employee, residing in Olakha.
“The beef I bought was the stock from Tsirang and may be because of that they charged me little more than the earlier price,” she added.
The current fixed price for beef with bones is Nu 165 per kg and boneless beef is sold at Nu 215 per kg in Thimphu.
The meat vendors’ tshogpa plans on putting up letters to the gov-ernment and agencies like Bhutan Chamber for Commerce and Industry (BCCI), trade and meat committee chairman. “I think it will take around another 10-15 days because they might have to arrange the meeting and sit down to fix the price of meat. After fixing the rate, only then, we would be able to get the stock,” said Ghalley.
Tashi Deki / Thimphu