Two more grading machines for online potato auctioning

Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCB) in collaboration with Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Limited (RSEBL) has added two more potato grading machines in the main auction yard in Phuentsholing.

Funded by RSEBL, these two machines are expected to boost the system of online auctioning of potatoes for the farmers to fetch better prices. Already FCB installed one machine last year. The machines will be used once online auction starts from September.

The machines procured at a cost of Nu 14mn will help the farmers to help in grading the potatoes in the online market. Machines will primarily help in the standardization of the product making it export quality which will fetch better prices for the farmers. Online trading of potatoes have fetched around Nu 2 more than conventional auctioning.

The potatoes graded through the machine are also expected to create the country’s brand and recognition. Since the potatoes unlike the manual grading will be graded into different sizes fairly, it will reduce the farmers’ burden to grade manually. “There have been cases where the traders are cheated by packing smaller potatoes at the base by the farmers,” said an official from Agriculture Marketing and Services Department of FCB, Tshering Dorji.

FCB in collaboration with RSEBL is trying to promote online marketing for the potatoes for the benefit of the farmers. The online marketing has numerous advantages as compared to the conventional auctioning which the farmers have been practicing so far. The online trading is expected to promote prompt payment for the farmers after agreeing on the prices and also reduce waiting time for the farmers.

FCB in collaboration with RSEBL started online auction system from 2016. The online potato auction reached Nepal according to FCB officials.

This year, FCB has already procured two more grading machines to facilitate online auctioning for the farmers. “We are doing so because that’s the future,” said FCB’s Chief Executive Officer Naiten Wangchuk. With boost in harvest, the only option is to export outside. The export needs competing against other countries with price and quality. For Bhutanese, competing with quality is an advantage. The two machines have been installed in Phuentsholing toward this end.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing