Potato farmers of eastern dzongkhags at the Samdrup Jongkhar auction yard are happy with the price the pro-duce is fetching this year. The red large potatoes fetched Nu 20 to Nu 21.50 per kilogramme (kg) while medium sized potatoes are selling for Nu 15 to Nu 17 a kg. Those categorized as small are fetching Nu 7 to Nu 10 per kg yesterday. Last year, large potatoes fetched Nu 15 to Nu 17, medium ones Nu 12 to Nu 15 and small ones Nu 5 to Nu 8 per kg. However, Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) officials said the quantity of potatoes auctioned until now is less than last year. FCBL auction complex recorded 1,200 metric tonnes (MT) of potatoes as auctioned so far. At this time last year, the complex auctioned 1,400MT.
Bidders from India said that they are offering better price this time because of the less supply at the auction yard. "The highest average price re-corded so far is Nu 23 per kg," said one of the bidders. Continuous rainfall causing several roadblocks has affected both potato growers and bidders, as they cannot auction one or two truckloads.
"The auction yard remains empty sometimes during the road blocks." They said that the price this time is better because heavy rainfall hampered its production in India. "There is also more demand for Bhutanese potatoes because it is more tasty." FCBL officials said the price is better because the sup-ply is less while demand both from the bidders and consumers are more. Officials said they have informed farmers to bring their potatoes instead of storing them for better prices.
A farmer, Pema, who auctioned the potatoes yesterday, said the price was better this time as it reached about Nu 2,200 to Nu 2,400 per bag. He auctioned about 40 bags. Each bag contains about 60kg to 70kg depending on the size. Potato growers said although the price is better, the production dropped this year because of heavy rain and hailstorm. "We can now save the expenditure as we do not have to wait for a week to get our potatoes auctioned like before."