Farmers happy with potato price in S/Jongkhar

Farmers who bring their potatoes to sell at Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited’s (FCBL) auction yard in Samdrup Jongkhar returned happy as the price is better this time.

The red large potatoes fetched Nu 24 per kilogramme (kg) while the medium sized potatoes are selling for Nu 19 a kg. Those categorised as small are fetching Nu 12 a kg as of yesterday.

However, FCBL officials said quantity this year has decreased going by what is brought at the auction yard.

Complex manager, Namgay Wangchuk, said the improved price could be because of the reduced supply. FCBL auctioned 1,630 MT of potatoes until September 15 while they had auction 3,500 MT potatoes last year, which is about 870 MT more than this year.

He said the large potatoes fetched between Nu 23 and Nu 25, medium between Nu 19 and Nu 20 this time while the average price for potatoes was between Nu 15 and 17 for large potatoes and, between Nu 12 and 15 for medium grade last year.

Bidders from India said that they are offering better price this time because of the less supply at the auction yard and more demand for Bhutanese potatoes. “The highest average price recorded so far is Nu 30 per kg,” said Rustam Haque, a bidder from India.

Rustam Haque said potato price shoots up when the quality of the Indian potatoes are bad and demand increase for Bhutanese potatoes.

A farmer from Trashigang, Tshering Yangki, who auctioned 45 bags yesterday, said the price was worth the hard work they put in. She got between Nu 1,440 and Nu 1,680 per bag. “When the price is god, it makes our legs lighter,” said the happy farmer. “It would help us cultivate more potatoes in the future if the price remains consistent every year.”

Potato growers said that although the price is better this time, the production dropped this year because of the heavy rain and hailstorm. The auction yard with grading facilities is also helping farmers. “We can save on expenditures because we do not have to wait for a week to get our potatoes auctioned like before,” said a farmer.

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