Potato sale through e-auction gaining momentum
More than 1,443MT of potatoes were sold through online auctioning this year
The sale of potatoes through online auction is gradually gaining momentum in Phuentsholing with increased quantity sold this year.
Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) in collaboration with the Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Limited (RSEBL) has sold more than 1,443mt of potatoes through online auctioning this year, amounting to Nu 37.6mn in three months.
Last year, 144.7mt of potatoes were sold through e-auction amounting to Nu 17.3mn. Online auction starts from September till December. However, this year, the supply has ended by mid-November.
Though unable to reach the targeted quantity, online auctioning has started gaining momentum, according to the Online Auction Manager, Purna Tamang. FCBL has targeted to auction more than 6,000mt of potatoes this year. However, with conventional auctioning happening most are sold there.
“Gradually, people are coming to know, but it takes time for them to get convinced of the system,” Purna Tamang said.
Meanwhile, November this year has seen the least quantity of potatoes at the auction yard due to favorable price in the earlier months of September and October. Farmers have almost completed selling their potatoes during these two months.
“If there were supplies from the farmers this month, the figure would rise,” Purna Tamang said. Still, in two months the sale through e-auction has doubled than that of last year.
In September last year, 133mt of potatoes were auctioned, while 505mt were sold this year. Similarly, 353mt were auctioned in October last year, while 938mt were auctioned this year in the same month. Only 149mt were sold this month. Last year, 536 were sold.
Generally, potato auction season lasts till December. But this year, the supply of potatoes has ended by October end and only a few farmers have brought their harvest this month.
Meanwhile, FCBL grades two types of potatoes - red and white into four different sizes and pack for the auction. The price too has also increased this year. It has reached up to Nu 57 per kilogram in e-auction.
While the price is almost the same, the sale through online auction has been advantageous to the farmers as they receive uniform rate unlike the conventional auctioning.
“While farmers sell a truckload of potatoes at different rates at different intervals, they can sell at one go and get uniform rate while selling through online auction. If calculated, they fetched about Nu 30,000 more on the same quantity,” Purna Tamang said.
Meanwhile, a farmer from Khotakha in Wangduephodrang has earned Nu 2mn from five truckloads of potatoes, of which four trucks were sold online. He earned Nu 1.5mn.
Mindu Gyeltshen said the rates at the online auction yard are better. His potatoes fetched up to Nu 49 per kilogram when conventional auction fetched Nu 38.
“It’s easy and fast too. I have informed my friends here to sell through online auction from next year,” he said.
Meanwhile, there are 13 registered local bidders for online auction till now.
“The demand for potatoes at the yard is also increasing,” Purna Tamang said, adding that systematic and well-graded and packaged product have more demands.
Meanwhile, FCBL and RSEBL have also initiated standard packing sack. They have also added two grading machines this year. They are also planning to install such machines in the villages where they can directly grade and pack the potatoes before bringing them to the Phuentsholing auction yard.
FCBL and RSEBL have started the sale of potatoes through online auction from last year in Phuentsholing after installing a potato grading machine.