On­line potato auc­tion launched

Business Bhutan - - Dealing Business - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley from Phuentshol­ing

Farm­ers across the coun­try can now sell their pota­toes on­line.

Food Cor­po­ra­tion of Bhutan (FCB) with Royal Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change of Bhutan Lim­ited (RSEBL) launched the sys­tem at Phuentshol­ing’s auc­tion yard on Wed­nes­day.

The agri­cul­ture de­part­ment and Dzongkhag ad­min­is­tra­tion are also in­volved with the on­line auc­tion launch.

With the sys­tem in place, the farm­ers can now quote their prices on­line and who­ever meets the price of the prod­uct will get a delivery. The farm­ers can now sell their pota­toes from one place with­out hav­ing to trans­port their pro­duce to the main auc­tion yard.

Gen­eral Man­ager of RSEBL, Pramod Ch­hetri, said that both the farm­ers and the bid­ders can sit at their re­spec­tive places with­out hav­ing to travel to the auc­tion yard for the deal. “The prod­uct will be graded by ma­chine,” he said.

FCB’s Mar­ket­ing Ad­vi­sor, Bhim Raj Gu­rung said the on­line auc­tion is meant to dis­cover and pro­vide the farm­ers’ ex­pected prices. “Our farm­ers will have more ad­van­tage fetch­ing bet­ter prices,” he said.

On­line mar­ket­ing can be done abroad as well and FCB af­ter grad­ing the pota­toes will pack them in a stan­dard bag weigh­ing 51kg each with proper in­for­ma­tion. FCB will open ware­houses in dif­fer­ent places af­ter as­sess­ing the sys­tem’s suc­cess.

How­ever, since it could not be done ini­tially, FCB and RSEBL are plan­ning to in­stall smaller grad­ing ma­chines across the potato grow­ing places to grade and sell it on­line.

Depend­ing on the num­ber of lots and the prices of­fered by the sellers and the bid­ders, the price will be de­ter­mined by the sys­tem. Un­like in the open auc­tion where the high­est bid­der used to get the whole lot, the deal would be has­sle­free.

The on­line auc­tion would also pre­vent bid­ders from re-grad­ing like in the open auc­tion, which re­sults in price in­cre­ment. “The grad­ing ma­chine does the fine grad­ing,” he said.

FCB and RSEBL have come to­gether for a trad­ing so­lu­tion into com­mod­ity plat­form. Com­mod­ity mar­ket with a trad­ing tech­nol­ogy works sim­i­lar to the ex­change mar­ket. Now the two author­i­ties brings along all de­mand and sup­ply in a sin­gle plat­form with dig­i­tal elec­tronic trad­ing.

The potato is graded and recorded in the ware­house and the mem­bers of the ex­change will record the in­for­ma­tion and auc­tion.

Farm­ers can quote their min­i­mum price and the traders can come and bid. “Be­ing on a dig­i­tal plat­form, both the traders and farm­ers have the lux­ury to go any­where for the trade,” Pramod Ch­hetri said.

Once the on­line auc­tion gains pop­u­lar­ity, farm­ers can store their prod­ucts in ware­houses and do not re­quire trav­el­ing to the auc­tion yard.

The mar­ket will be driven by vol­ume and sup­ply not by traders and farm­ers. The sys­tem will do the mar­ket dis­cov­ery of the price. Also the farm­ers would not in­cur losses on the trans­porta­tion of goods.

On the first day, the best price on­line was Nu 28 per kilo, Nu 1 more than the open auc­tion price.

Both FCB and RSEBL plan to in­tro­duce the sys­tem for other cash crops like car­damom, ap­ple and or­ange, veg­eta­bles and even eggs and cordy­ceps avoid­ing the mid­dle­man. “It will ben­e­fit the over­all agri­cul­ture sec­tor,” Pramod Ch­hetri said. But be­fore that, FCB and RSEBL need to study its vi­a­bil­ity.

FCB is also try­ing to pro­cure smaller grad­ing ma­chines to in­stall in the cen­ters where ware­houses are lo­cated. The ma­chines will be dis­trib­uted based on the need, ac­cord­ing to Pramod Ch­hetri. “First we need to stream­line and scan the sce­nario. Once ev­ery­one is in­ter­ested, we will move to other re­gions,” he said.

On­line auc­tion­ing would also al­low the farm­ers with lesser prod­uct quan­tity to take part in the auc­tion un­like in the open auc­tion where they merge with the larger quan­ti­ties to avoid fares to reach the auc­tion yard.

The on­line price has sur­passed the con­ven­tional price mak­ing both the farm­ers and traders happy. The sys­tem would en­cour­age lo­cal traders to take part in the auc­tion as most of the traders cur­rently are Indians.

While FCB will carry out the auc­tion­ing pro­cesses, RSEBL will be the con­trol­ling agent.

FCB has al­ready trained 10 of­fi­cials for the process of on­line auc­tion­ing. The potato-grad­ing ma­chine was pro­cured at Nu 4.5mn from Haryana. The ma­chine can grade 10 MT of potato per hour.

Ini­tially, Chapcha’s pota­toes will be auc­tioned on­line and 100 house­holds will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in June this year. How­ever, it will be open for other farm­ers too.

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