As the potato auction season ends, the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) has recorded auction of potato worth Nu 51mn more than the last season through conventional auction. However, the total auction has reduced as compared to the last season.
FCB auctioned around 24,200 Metric Ton (MT) of potato this season worth around Nu 592.5mn. The auction last year was 25,264 MT. With better rates for the potato still, farmers fetched better prices. Potato season starts from May till December. The highest volume was exported in October and November this year with farmers rushing during times of better potato rates in the market. The prices were good these two months.
The average price this year was better than last year. Last year, average price was Nu 22 per kilogram (Kg) but it increased to Nu 24.5 per kg this year.
FCB’s Auction Manager (Conventional), Ugyen Penjor, said that despite lower export, the farmers fetched better prices this year. Also, the farmers supplied to other markets in the country which is one reason for the increase in profits. They sold their produce in Thimphu. “They got better prices,” he said. Also the prices for seed potato increased in October and an increased number of traders from across the border bought the potato supplied to Indian farmers for planting. The price for seed reached up to Nu 55 per kg this year.
Unlike last year, there were fewer hassles for farmers this year while auctioning their potato. The provision of a parking space at new Land Customs Station in the town helped in decongesting the traffic in the auction yard. Drivers were not made to wait in queue unlike in the last season. Last season, the farmers waited for weeks to unload their potato to auction. Dophum, one of the last farmers to sell potato is happy that she could sell her farm products with much ease this season. “It was convenient and we didn’t wait much like previous years,” she said. Dophum from Chapcha under Chhukha sold 130 bags of potato this year worth more than Nu 300,000 this season. She fetched an average price of Nu 35 per kg this year. “The business was satisfactory,” she said.
However, FCB auctioned more vegetables this season than last season apart from potato. This season, FCB has auctioned 5,089 MT of vegetables worth Nu 162.8mn. Last season 3,463 MT was sold worth Nu 93.7mn. Vegetable comprises radish, turnip, carrot, cauliflower, beans and beetroot.
With all the problems while auctioning the potato and other vegetables easing, farmers are expected to enhance their production next year. “If we can sell our products conveniently we are encouraged to work hard. Since most villagers depend on vegetable cultivation, selling conveniently will help us a lot,” said Khandu Om, another farmer from Chapcha.
Krishna Ghalley fro Phuentsholing