Trashigang district recorded the highest production of milk, butter and cheese in 2022. The district produced 5,333 metric tons (MT) of milk, followed by 15.4% of butter and 4.3% of cheese respectively from the total produced in the country as compared to 20 districts in the country. This has been highlighted by the Integrated Agriculture and Livestock Census of Bhutan (IALC), 2022.
According to the census, Samtse district was second in the production of milk with 3,799 MT. Monggar recorded 3,058 MT of milk produce. The share in milk production ranged from 1% of the national total in Gasa district to 12.6% in Trashigang district.
Samtse and Monggar districts accounted for 9.0% and 7.2%, respectively, of the total milk production in the country.
Similarly, as of the butter, Wangdue Phodrang district was the one that produced the second highest, with about 114 MT produced amounting to about 7.6% and Monggar district with about 112 MT amounting to about 7.5%.
Concerning cheese, the second highest production was from Monggar district with about 202 MT of cheese amounting to about 8.5% , followed by Wangdue Phodrang district with about 199 MT of cheese amounting to about 8.4%.
Data on dairy production included the quantity of milk, butter, cheese and chugo produced during the reference period. Milk production refers to the total fresh milk produced, and covers milk production from all bovine livestock, according to the report.
For instance, the milk production was estimated by multiplying the number of milch animals inclusive of those milking animals as on the census day and those milked-dry during the reference year with the average milk produced per animal per day and the number of lactating days of the animal.
The milk produced from other animals, such as goats and sheep, are not included due to less significance to the total Bhutanese economy. In other words, the census ignored the milk production from goat and sheep.
Meanwhile, a total of 254,897 cattle were recorded in the 2022 IALC, a decrease of 14% from 2021. Districts including Samtse, Trashigang and Monggar had the highest cattle in 2022 and districts namely, Monggar, Samdrup Jongkhar, Pema Gatshel, Haa, Paro, Thimphu and Sarpang are dominant with Jersey cattle holders while Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha, Dagana, Chhukha and Samtse are dominant Nublang-Thrabum cattle holders in the country.
With the Improved livestock breed profile, according to the 2022 ILAC, there were about 90,735 Jersey cattle in the country. The number of milching Jersey was 27,335 amounting to 30.1% of the total recorded.
For instance, across the districts, Monggar with 11.8%, Trashigang with 9.8% and Samtse with 8.4% had the highest number of Jersey cows. There were 23,761 Jersey holders in the country.
However, the 2022 IALC shows that the average cattle population from 1989 to 2022 has been declining since 2006.
Similarly, in terms of dairy production, the economy recorded a decrease in the live stock production including milk, butter, cheese and chugo. The 2022 ILAC recorded a decrease of 23% of milk amounting to about 42,255 MT, about 1,508 MT of butter, a decrease by about 22% followed by about 2,382 MT of cheese, a decrease by about 24% and about 130 MT of chugo, a decrease by about 34% compared to 2021.
Meanwhile, the 2022 ILAC saw an increase in the country’s meat production compared to 2021 in all categories except for mutton, chicken and fish. Mutton production decreased by almost 14% percent since 2020 and totaled about 19 MT in 2022.
Districts, namely Chhukha and Samtse dominanted chicken producing districts while Tsirang and Dagana dominanted pork producing districts and majority of eastern districts produced beef compared to other meat type.
Other livestock production such as eggs, honey and wool, were also collected in the census.
Sherab Dorji from Thimphu