Vegetable auction picks up in Phuentsholing

The Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) auction yard in Phuentsholing is a busy platform these days. Farmers are bringing in hoards a variety of vegetables for trade.The yield this time is higher than last year's and farmers are fetching better prices.

Carrot and cabbage at the yard are season's first. Farmers have already brought and auctioned 777 metric tonnes (MT) of cabbage from May 1 until July 23, according to the figures shared by the complex. For the same duration in 2018, the auction yard had received 305MT of cabbage.

Complex manager Ugyen Penjore said a bag of cabbage is auctioned at an average price of Nu 500 today. "It was sold at Nu 400 to Nu 450 last year," he said.

This year, the quantity of carrot has also increased manifold with 325MT already auctioned from May to until July 23. For the same period last year the auction yard received 57.7MT. However, the carrot price has dropped drastically.

A farmer from Jabana, Paro, Rinzi said he would fetch Nu 500 to Nu 600 per bag of carrot. A bag of carrot Vegetable auction picks up in Phuentsholing An auction staff calls the bids weighs 30-35kg.

"I sold at Nu 2,000 a bag last year," the farmer said adding that he expected at least Nu 1,000 a bag this time.

Ugyen Penjore said farmers are bringing 17-29MT of carrots on a daily basis today. The highest was recorded on July 20 when a total of 29MT of carrots had entered the auction yard.

He said Bhutanese car-rots are in competition with the cold storage carrots from Shillong, which hit the same market as Bhutanese carrots.

"Most carrots are brought from Haa and Paro, "the manager said, explaining that the increase in the yield this time is also because of the high price farmers fetched in 2018. He said they auction what-ever vegetable arrives because of their perishable nature.

The highest a bag of carrot fetched is Nu 850 and lowest Nu 300. Cauliflower, beans, and beetroot have also increased this year. FCBL auctioned yard has already traded 526MT of cauliflower between the same period compared to 102MT in 2018. About 227MT of beans have been traded com-pared to 75MT last year. Beet-root arrivals have increased to 445MT this year from 229MT in 2018. Another farmer from Jabana, Pema Wangdi, 32, who brought cauliflower and cabbage said he was happy with the price. "Last year I earned about Nu 200,000," he said. "This time I would be able to bring more produce."Farmers are also fetching good prices for potato.

The auction yard recorded Nu 29 a kg as this year's highest price. However, the arrival until July 23 is 1,526MT compared to last year's 3,243MT. FCBL CEO Naiten Wangchuk said the price for carrot has only decreased this year. "The production volume has also increased," he said.

Naiten Wangchuk said farmers have been advised to not bring in carrots at a time. In the meantime, FCBL is also exploring alternative markets. Meanwhile, the increased volume of vegetables this year is mostly because of timely rain this year, the CEO said. Although it was difficult in the beginning, the trading would stabilise, he added. "Our staff are working until 8 to 10pm," he said.

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