The Cordyceps has been a financial boon for many highlanders in the country. Around 672 kilograms of Cordyceps was collected in seven gewogs, worth about Nu 470 mn with the average price per kilogram at Nu 0.7 mn in 2014.
According to the Cordycep Marketing Report-2014, prepared by the Department of Agricultural Marketing Cooperatives (DAMC), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, around 555 kilograms of Cordyceps were sold in the auction yard and about 117 kilograms of Cordyceps was withdrawn from auction.
The officials say that the withdrawn Cordyceps must have been either taken to other auction sites or exported directly or sold to individuals after the auctioning period by the collectors.
The total amount of royalty collection from the Cordyceps was Nu 5.64mn, which is the highest amount as of now. The report further states that there were 3,539 collection permits issued, but only 2,111 were present during the auction sites.
There was 100% representation of collectors at auction sites, like Thimphu, but in cases like Gasa, the representation of collectors at auction was not even 30%.
Of the seven dzongkhags, Wangduephodrang has the highest collection permit coming to 975 and had 470 collectors present at auction. The dzongkhag contributed most collection of Cordyceps, approximately 366 kilograms in the auction yard and 56 kilograms was withdrawn by the collector. Lhuntse contributed the least amount of Cordyceps, with only half of a kilogram.
The amount of Cordyceps collected this year is the same as 2013. It was only in 2007 that saw the lowest transacted quantity at around 140 kilograms through auction.
The price of the Cordyceps has been increasing over years due to increase in the number of bidders registered. This year, the number of bidders has doubled reaching to 47 as compared with initial standing at 22.
In 2004, the average price per kilogram was recorded at Nu 0.065 mn, and this year, the average price has reached to Nu 0.7 mn per kilogram of Cordyceps.
The highest price was recorded from the Lunana gewog, Gasa, at a price of Nu 1.326 mn per kilogram and the lowest price at Nu 0.07mn per kilogram at Khoma in Lhuntse.
The year also saw few changes in the rules, regulations and guidelines. The royalty amount for Cordyceps was revised to Nu 8,400 per kilogram from Nu 7,000 per kilogram, and which is incremental by 20 % after every 20 years.
The report also stated that the collectors who are not satisfied with the price being offered in the auction were allowed to withdraw their products, enabling them to market their Cordyceps in other auction sites or sell it to individuals after the completion of auctioning period.
As for the sustainability practices, the proposals of the reduction of the collection permit per household was made accordingly, but after much deliberation, it was retained as before, with three collection permits from each household.
The service charge amount calculated based on cordycep transaction value has been retained at 0.65% as in the previous years. The mode of cordycep marketing was also kept the same as in the previous years, which is auctioning done by the respective gewog administration.
The cordycep auctioning was carried out in July 10 this year at Paro and concluded on August 3 at Thimphu. The auctions were conducted at 11 venues for 17 different cordyceps collection gewogs.
The reports also recommends the need for awareness campaign headed by DAMC, BAFRA(Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority), National Post Harvest Centre(NPHC) and DoFPS (Department of Forest and Park Services) on the various aspects of value chain on a phase-wise basis or country-wide basis of the sustainability and viability of the Cordyceps business.
It was found that the turnover of collectors at auction was less compared to the numbers of collection permits issued. There is also the challenge in the implementation of certification in most of the gewogs, as certification determines the current marketing mode.