Potato price soars, farm­ers happy

Business Bhutan - - Money - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley from Phuentshol­ing

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.

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