Mandarin yield plummets, exporters lure suppliers 

The mandarin yield has plummeted drastically this year compared to the previous year; however orange exporters are hopeful that the low supply could fetch them high profits.

According to the exporters, they are expecting low supply of oranges this year as the yield has fallen almost by 60%. This, however, is likely to fuel competition among exporters to lure orange suppliers.

As orange prices are expected to increase this year and exporters feel that the high supply would fetch high profits despite the poor yield, orange exporters are now luring orange suppliers to sell their oranges to them.

The proprietor of Druk Phuensum Import and Export, Sonam Tobgay, said they have to face stiff competition among the suppliers this year due to the low yield.

The exporters say that due to the limited yield, the suppliers could take advantage of the demand situation and opt for higher prices from the exporters. However, the suppliers are paid advance by the exporters with the former promising to deliver oranges to the latter.

But in the current situation, the exporters say that these suppliers could take advantage of the high demand of oranges in the market.

“Every exporter is competing to grab oranges from the suppliers at a higher rate than the other. So the suppliers sometimes cheat on us by selling to the exporters, who are willing to pay higher than the fixed rate,” Sonam Tobgay said.

“After selling, the suppliers then request the exporters to settle the dues the following year. Each exporter pays up to 60% of the total oranges promised,” he added.

Due to the low yield this year, most of the exporters have still not yet started exporting oranges. Usually orange export starts by mid-November. But this year, only three exporters have started exporting oranges, while others are still yet to do so.

Exporter Pemba of Peling Export said they are yet to start exporting oranges as their suppliers are yet to deliver because of the poor yield.

“We will be having a difficult time this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, there are around 20 exporters dealing with orange exports in the country. However, the orange season is expected to last shorter than the usual period, which lasts till mid-February. Many estimate the orange season to last only till mid-January this year.

While each supplier used to deliver around 30 truckloads of orange in a season last year, Lhamo, Manager of Pelden Export, said their suppliers expect to supply only five to six truckloads this year. She said they supplied 160 truckloads of orange to Bangladesh last year.

Meanwhile, each exporter has more than 20 suppliers from southern dzongkhags of the country where oranges are grown. The exporters also expect to supply less than 60% of the total exports of last year.

Contrarily, the demand for oranges from Bangladeshi importers has increased this year and they are ready to offer high prices. They are also willing to make advance payments to the exporters due to the low supply. Unlike last year, where the mandarin yield was favorable from other countries like India and China, this year the demand for oranges from Bhutan has hiked up, according to the exporters.

Exporters have started paying Nu 1,000 per box for Meel (Big-sized) and Nu 800 for Keel (small-sized) oranges this year.

“We are sure to receive better offer this year from Bangladesh,” Sonam Tobgay said. Last year, the suppliers were paid Nu 800 and Nu 600 per box respectively.

A local supplier, Sangay Penjor, said the mandarin yield fluctuates each year. “Last year, the yield was good, but not this year despite favorable season. Next year, we will be reaping well,” he said.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing