Potatoes at S/Jongkhar auction yard fetch better prices this year

Potato farmers from the eastern dzongkhags are getting better prices for their produce than last year at the auction yard in SamdrupJongkhar. Along with the prices, production has also increased this year.

From May this year, farmers who auctioned their potatoes fetched double the prices they got last year.

Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) officials said the quantity of the produce auctioned also doubled this year.

FCBL auction complex recorded 2,500 metric tons (MT) of potatoes being auctioned so far. At this time last year, the complex auctioned 2,000 MT of potatoes.

The price fetched by the potatoes increased to Nu 40mn from Nu 28.6mn in 2017.

FCBL’s complex manager NamgayWangchuk said about 500 to 600 bags of potatoes are auctioned every day.

“There is a difference of Nu 2 to Nu 3 per kg compared to the rates in 2017,” he said, “The average price is better this year with better demand.”

Potatoes are sold at the places like Nalbari, Rangia, Daranga and Siliguri while some also get into the local market in SamdrupJongkhar.

The potatoes are brought from places like Trashigang, Pemagatshel, Mongar, Trashiyangtse and Lhuentse to be auctioned in SamdrupJongkhar.

A farmer, Sonam Jamtsho, who came from Trashigang said that the price was better this time. “The price this year was stable and the potato yield from my field also increased,” he said.

Additionally, he said that he had auctioned about 30 bags of potatoes so far. A bag contains about 40kg to 60kg of potatoes depending upon the size. “I will bring the remaining potatoes soon as the prices are better this time and we never know how the prices will change.”

Wangmo, another farmer said she cultivated fewer potatoes this time as she was unhappy with last year’s price.

However, she said that she was happy that they did not have to wait much to get the payment.

The highest average prices recorded so far is Nu 21/kg while the prices did not increase above Nu 17/kg last year.

Meanwhile, the FCBL auction yard faced some storage problems at the beginning of the season due to the rush at the auction yard.

But the complex manager said that they will enhance the space soon in order to resolve the congestion.

Jigme Wangchen from SamdrupJongkhar