The Chief Marketing Officer of Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperative, Yonten Gyamtsho said the government is planning to implement contingency plans for Cordycep collectors in the country given the dismal auctions so far with enough buyers not showing up or low prices being offered.
“If things don’t go as expected, particularly for the harvesters, we are thinking of conducting a second round of auction. Why we want to do a second round auction is that by then the Covid-19 situation might improve and there would be more buyers from outside and more demand for our exporters to export again. So with that assumption we might want to conduct a second round of auction giving a platform to our sellers,” he said.
Yonten said that if the situation does not improve and if someone’s livelihood is solely dependent on it and they are not able to sell because the buyers are not buying, the government is thinking of a buyback of Cordyceps.
“We will buyback but we will only provide a certain average price and it might not fulfill the market price. Or we might provide some grant and when the market is favorable we can sell that back to them and recover it,” he said.
He added, “Right now the request from Paro cordyceps harvesters is they want to participate when we conduct our auction in Thimphu and we have also agreed to it. If they want to participate we will extend a day or two and provide a platform.”
He added that they can also opt for direct buying and selling whereby they don’t have to come for the auction and they can contact their own buyers and negotiate the rates.
“Actually they are prohibited to do this because our producers are on the losing side and there is no price competition. But this time we are letting them do it,” he added.
He said that the export market is disrupted because of the pandemic and therefore less numbers of cordyceps are being demanded from the bidders in the country.
“The buyers are participating based on the market opportunity in the export markets. If there is no market, there is no use of collecting cordyceps. So currently the export market is not favorable since the quantities demanded are less or numbers of participant are less,” he said, adding that
Usually around 35 to 40 people used to participate on an average but at this time 20 have registered and all of have them are not participating in every auction.
“They make a choice and certain numbers of bidders go to particular sites. They already have experience where they can get what type of quality, so depending on what type of quality has been demanded by their partner in the export market they will go to that particular site,” he said, adding that they can store the Cordyceps for at least a year and there is a proper technique which both the harvester and the exporter knows.
He said that auctions are going on except for Paro. He said that either the bidders didn’t go or maybe it might have had a certain quality and probably that quality didn’t match with what was demanded.
He said in the rest of the auction sites, while the numbers of buyers participating are in lesser number but the volume wise it was being sold on a regular trend. He said even in normal times the bidders will withdraw unless the two parties reach a mutual rate.