Despite shortage of feed reported for the last few weeks, Karma Feeds in Phuentsholing continues to produce feed.
The Director, Chencho Wangyal said that a wave of panic had spread among customers who believed that the plant could be shut down due to unavailability of maize, the prime raw material.
“We need to clarify to our end users that we never stopped producing the feed,” said Chencho Wangyal.
The plant faced raw material shortage particularly the maize grain which is imported from the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam.
The company imports maize at Nu 20.5 per kilogram(kg) which recently shot up to Nu 23.5. It used to be available at Nu 15 per kg earlier. The company imports 99% of the raw materials from India. The company is now getting enough supply of maize as the new season for maize has started. The company hopes the price will drop further.
Karma Feeds was compelled to increase the price with increasing production cost according to the Director. However, the price has not ben beyond affordability for the farmers,the Director said. There are few competitors in country and outside too.
The prices of other raw materials have also increased at the average of Nu 5 per kg in India. The feed price has increased up to 7%. However, the company has not revised the feed price due to recent raw material crisis despite increasing the cost. The price was last revised in February. The price ranges from Nu 1,110to Nu 1,725 per 50 kg bag. The company produces seven different feed varieties for cattle, pig and layer and broiler poultry. The company also produces feed for horse and sheep on demand.
The late cultivation, drought and climate change has decreased the annual yield in the states which is the main reason for shortage, the Director says.
The company has explored possibility to procure maize from local farmers but the yield would not meet the required demand. The company has approached with the government to encourage local farmers to supply. But it is deemed unviable.
The plant requires 1,560MT per month. The plant has capacity to produce 200 MT a day. The plant today produces 120 MT. The production however decreased in recent weeks up to 80MT only without maize. “We could not meet the demand of our end users. But everything is resolved and back to normal,” Chencho Wangyal said. It is expected that the maize price will decline during surplus harvest.
Karma Feeds has now constructed a warehouse to stock the raw materials to supplement during crisis. The warehouse will be opened in September this year. The company within three months has encountered a loss of Nu 13.8mn.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing