An eight-member poultry farmer’s group in Bangzor village under Dewathang gewog in Samdrup Jongkhar has proved not only a boon to the communities, but also an exemplary venture, enabling the villagers to attain self-sufficiency in eggs and other poultry products.
Sangay Wangmo, 30, was called for an awareness talk in 2011, by the livestock officials of the area. The essence of the talk that she grabbed was ‘poultry business is good; people must show interest in it.’
Thereafter, she gave it a serious thought after assurance by livestock officials that the government will support the venture with technical backing and expenditure support.
Sangay went on to start the business with few other friends who attended the talk. Eventually, seven others came forward to form a group and together they started a poultry backyard farm, which would go on to become a thriving business, serving them a steady source of income, and at the same time- making the village self-sufficient in eggs.
And that is how the Bangzor Bja Sokhang farmer group was born.
Before the farmer’s group was established, people in the area bought eggs imported from the border areas, which were not as readily available. Even if available, the shopkeepers charged a higher price.
“Now, through our farm, local eggs are made easily available, that too at an affordable price,” said a member of the group, Jigme Choden.
According to Sangay Wangmo, they incurred an initial establishment cost of about Nu 0.2mn, but the backyard poultry farm, she claims, produces more than enough eggs for the whole village.
As mentioned in the awareness talk, Sangay Wangmo said that the government did render support to them. “Although no direct financial support was provided, government did help us a lot,” she said.
“We received 40 CGI sheet, 10 cement bags, and a truckload of sand.” Another member, Karma Wangmo said it was a big help from the government, to which they are grateful.
In addition, 150 pullets were supplied to them, and supplemented with 100 more later in the same year from government poultry farm in Lingmithang, Mongar. The group poultry farming, according to the members, receives constant assistance from nearest livestock office in terms of medical care.
Another member, Sherub added that the production on most occasions surpasses the demands from local people. “Hence, those produced in surplus are taken further to markets in Dewathang and Samdrup Jongkhar where an egg is sold for Nu 8,” he said
The business was started without availing any loans from financial institutions. Members decided that even if they did not have much capital investment in their own hand, they will not take loans.
“Loan is easy to avail, but when it comes to repayment, it drags on,” said one of the members adding, “Thus, it really affects the viability of the business.”
However, on the flip side, the increase in poultry feed price came down hard on them. Although the business is doing well, the members claim that with increase in poultry feed price, the quality of the poultry feed has dwindled.
“I do not get enough quality feed for my growing poultry population,” Sangay Wangmo said.
Due to lack of quality and inaccessibility of feeds, the number of fowls has dropped, from 300 in 2011 to 150 this year.
“We had to now resort to feeding our fowls with grains.”