Potato auction fetches better price for sellers

This year the dzongkhags of Bumthang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Phobjikha, Hongtsho and Yusipang proved to be the major producers of potatoes.

Everyday two to three vehicles are sent to India as per the order of contractors. The supply destinations are in Kathmandu, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Kolkata, Alipur, Tamakhaiguri, Dhowddguri, Falakata, Cooch Bihar and other local sides of India.

For almost six months the supply of the potatoes from Phuentsholing to India was in the sprint. Every year the auction is held in the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) depot.

The buying rate of potatoes this year is Nu 32 per sack and it is sold for Nu 72 to India.

In an interview with one of the contractors, Mr. N. K shah who has been in this contract for more than 20 years in Bhutan, he said this year the supply was better compared to last year. “We had a great loss due to more productions of potatoes in India itself last year,” he said.

However the price keeps fluctuating with the supply and this year the overall income is Nu 600,000 and according to last year’s loss it was Nu 1.5mn.

Talking to some of the potato sellers, Tshering Dorji, 52 from Phobjikha said this year he got better profits compared to last year. He comes to Phuentsholing every year as he has to go with the auction of his potatoes.

Gyem Lham, 54 from Phobjikha said selling potatoes is a big source of her livelihood with which her family survives. “I am neither happy nor sad with the income of this year because last year I was in total loss and I have to pay the money back with this year’s income,” she said.

Phuba Tshering, 32 from Samdrup Jongkhar said every year during an auction he gets nervous whether his potatoes would be accepted by the Indian contractors or not.

Sonam Wangmo/Phuentsholing

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