Potato price soars, farmers happy

Farmers this year are content with the potato prices which have soared overtime. The price reached up to Nu 35/kg at the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited’s (FCB) Phuentsholing auction yard this week.

Of different potato varieties categorized into small, medium and large, the auction price ranged from Nu 9.80 to Nu 34.30. The farmers are rushing with their yield in the auction yard now. “This year we are receiving better prices which is welcome,” said 35-year old farmer Kezang from Jabana, Paro. He has brought 50 bags of potato this week.

FCB has managed to auction around 500 bags per day this year from conventional auctioning alone. Potato comes to Phuentsholing from all western dzongkhags, central and even eastern dzongkhags. There are 39 active Indian traders of 49 registered with FCB.

Potato, this year has also seen a better yield according to the farmers owing to timely rainfall. A farmer from Phobjikha has so far sold 131 bags of potato this year alone and still has 70 bags which he plans to bring soon. He has earned more than Nu 200,000. Dorji, 44, said that potato being their main cash crop, fetching good price would help the farmers in supporting their children’s education apart from meeting daily expenses at home. “We are happy with the price and would like to thank FCB for providing a platform to sell our products,” he said.

FCBL this year has worked on providing better auctioning services and facilities to the farmers. After introduction of e-auction in collaboration with Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Limited, farmers have got better prices, according to the FCB officials. The price for potato sold through online auction has fetched up to Nu 3 more than the conventional auctioning.

Also FCBL has extended the platform to stock potato in the auction yard to accommodate more potatoes. With only a single yard all the potato comes in the yard which has led to traffic congestion and delay in auction last year. This year, FCB has opened another yard near Amochhu bank where the farmers can park their loaded vehicles to decongest traffic for smoother auctioning processes. Also FCBL has started a queuing system where the farmers can wait for their turn to bring the product in order to avoid rush during the peak season.

“We have worked to provide efficient services to the people. If they cooperate, the process will be easy without hassles” aid FCBL’s Auction Manager Ugyen Penjor.

Till now, FCBL has auctioned 15.5mn MT of potatoes worth Nu. 286mn. Last year, FCBL auctioned 7.5mn MT of potatoes worth Nu 110.31mn.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing