Meanwhile, direct buying and selling of Cordyceps to affect open price competition this year
According to the Director of Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives (DAMC), Ugyen Penjore, due to nationwide lockdown in the country last year, Cordyceps auctions were canceled in the middle of the year, and direct sale was permitted.
He said that before the lockdown was announced they had completed auctions in the gewogs of Wangduephodrang and Bumthangs. For the rest of the gewogs, the ministry permitted direct buying and selling.
“COVID-19 did not have a substantial impact on the Cordyceps industry,” he said.
332.78 kilograms of Cordyceps was collected in seven dzongkhags last year preceded by 355.57 kilograms in 2019 and 346.74 kilograms in 2018. Last year, the total amount of royalty collection from the Cordyceps was Nu 2.79 million.
Of the seven dzongkhags, Wangduephodrang has contributed the most collection of Cordyceps, approximately 166 kilograms.
Last year, the export market was disrupted because of the pandemic, and therefore, less quantity of Cordyceps was bought by the bidders in the country.
The buyers were participating based on the market opportunity in the export markets. The export market was not favorable due to less demand.
Usually around 35 to 40 people used to participate on an average, but last year saw only 19 registered bidders, and they did not participate in every auction.
He said that auction entails gathering of hundreds of buyers, sellers and government officials who are there either as regulators or facilitators.
The ministry decided not to hold auctions so as to mitigate the risk of COVID19 transmission. However, direct buying and selling entails only negotiation and meeting between a buyer and a seller, which can be done virtually or by meeting up physically.
DAMC has issued a notification declaring that it will not be able to assist cordyceps auctions this season due to the resulting hazards, and the government advice to avoid crowding. However, in order to maintain continuous business, DAMC announced the start of direct Cordyceps purchasing and selling.
However, the only disadvantage in the direct buying and selling is the absence of direct and open competition, where buyers bid for the Cordyceps.
“Having said that, even the sellers are well aware of the value of Cordyceps and will not sell unless they feel they get the value for their goods,” he said.
He added, “We do not think someone’s life is solely dependent on the Cordyceps collection and sale, but if the assumption made were true, the Royal Government may devise appropriate interventions; for which buyback could be an option.”