Rajesh Rai | phuntsholing
The export price of potatoes has declined.
According to the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL), the auction price has come down since October 25 this year.
Although there has been a slight improvement in the last three days, a kg of large size potato was auctioned yesterday at Nu 20 to Nu 24, a drop from Nu 26 to Nu 30. Medium sized potatoes auctioned on Nu 12. One drop from Nu 14, Nu 18 to Nu 22. Small and marble-sized potatoes were auctioned for as low as Nu 6 and Nu 2, respectively.
Typically, prices are better around this time of season, especially the price of seed potatoes. However, the seeds of Punjab have come in the market.
In 2020 and 2021, the prices of seed potatoes have also come down due to the arrival of middlemen in the time of pandemic.
As Chapcha seed potato, Chukha was in high demand before the pandemic due to better production record, middlemen started selling low quality seeds from other places as Chapcha seed, complex manager of FCBL auction yard in Phuntsholing , Ugyen Penjor said.
“It reduced production,” he said, when the price fell.
Potato seeds were mostly exported to Alipore and parts of Bihar in India.
Another reason for the fall in prices is that Bhutanese farmers tend to hoard potatoes despite their seasonal advantage (and freshness). If farmers do not hoard, the season will end by mid-November.
As farmers hoard in anticipation of higher prices, Indian potatoes from cold storage bring competition to the market.
Meanwhile, due to fall in potato prices, a large number of trucks are queuing up at the door of the auction. Many farmers have been waiting for more than a week.
“Despite this, FCBL has been able to auction all of them,” said the complex manager.
A total of 177 Truck Potatoes have been auctioned. It has 4,522.2 metric tonnes (MT) of potatoes valued at NU 73.9 million (M).
As of yesterday, since June, the FCBL auction yard in Phuntsholing has auctioned a total of 7,544.6MT potatoes worth Nu 147M.
Pem Gyeltshen, a farmer from Chapcha, said he has auctioned two truckloads of potatoes so far and has earned about NU110,000.
“Last year, two trucks earned me about Nu 320,000.”