Bhutan imports Nu 14.30mn worth of chillies and Nu 3.64mn worth of eggs

Around 2,166 cartons of eggs and 305.5MT of chillies were distributed across the country

If the country produces sufficient eggs and chillies, the government will not import these two essential items, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF).

However, the country has to resort to the import of chillies and eggs to meet the local demand.

According to the Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited (BLDCL), around 2,166 cartons of eggs worth Nu 3.64mn have been imported as of now.

An official said that the cost includes transportation charges.

“As of now, all the imported eggs are distributed across the country and yet we didn’t receive the directives from the government to stop the import of the eggs,” he said.

The MoAF has authorized the Bhutan Livestock Development Cooperation (BLDC) to import eggs as an interim measure for up to four-five months to resolve the egg shortage in the country.

“The eggs will be made available in all 20 dzongkhags at the price of Nu 285-305/egg tray depending upon the location of the dzongkhag,” states the MoAF notification.

And recently with reports of domestic egg production having resumed in the country, the Director of the Department of Livestock, Tashi Yangzom said, “We are keeping tabs on the domestic production of eggs through the collection of updated information from the fields and as soon as domestic production can fulfill the market needs, import of eggs will be stopped.”

She added that the import is only an interim measure introduced to bridge the gap in the supply of eggs in the market and to keep eggs affordable for the general public.

Similarly, after the government began to import green chillies in the country, the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) has imported around 305.5MT (Metric Tons) of green chillies from Falakata, India.

The government has spent around Nu 14.3mn to import green chillies in the country and the FCBL imports the chillies through the gates in Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar.

According to the FCBL’s auction yard in Phuentsholing, chillies were distributed in 19 dzongkhags and around 158.6MT of green chillies worth Nu 7.3mn, have been distributed to Thimphu, Haa, Paro, Wangdue, and Gasa.

Around 57.8MT of green chillies worth Nu 2.8mn has been distributed to Chhukha and Samtse and 40.7MT worth Nu 2mn to dzongkhags including Bumthang, Trongsa, Zhemgang, Tsirang, Sarpang and Dagana.

In addition, 48.3MT of green chillies worth Nu 2.3mn were distributed to Lhuentse, Mongar, Trashiyangtse, Trashigang, Pemagatshel, and Samdrup Jongkhar as of Thursday this week.

According to the MoAF, the ministry will initiate the time-bound import of green chillies for three months until March this year to ensure availability and curb illegal import. 

The FCBL, which distributes the spice in the market, will import around 350MT of green chillies every month until March to meet the local demand.

Meanwhile, the interim measure comes after the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) tested some of the batches of green chillies recently and found the chemical content within the permissible limit, meaning safe for consumption.

According to a MoAF’s earlier notification, the BAFRA will continue testing all the incoming chillies based on which the import will be considered and the agriculture ministry in consultation with the FCBL will sell the chillies at rates varying from Nu 61 to Nu 75 per kilogram.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu