With a kg of cordyceps fetching Nu 2.71 million (M) in Bumthang last month, it has broken the record for the second time in a row, a report from the Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) stated.
A kg of cordyceps fetched Nu 1.55 million at the Chokhor gewog centre in Bumthang last year, the highest amount ever recorded so far in a cordyceps auction after collection of the fungi was legalised in the country in 2004.
According to the report, a total of 84.268kgs of cordyceps were auctioned on July 19 and 20, which is an increase by 60kgs compared to last year.
People withdrew 19.920kgs of cordyceps after they could not get their expected price. Of the 24kgs, 12.1kgs were withdrawn last year.
The lowest price fetched for a kg was Nu 21,000 and the highest was Nu 902,000 a kg on the first day.
People from Chokhor, Tang and Chumey gewogs are legally authorized to collect cordyceps in Bumthang.
According to the DAMC report, cordyceps auction prices have increased gradually in the past five years. On an average, the price for a kg of cordyceps has increased from Nu 0.67M to Nu 0.818M in 2016 and Nu 1.423M this year.
A total of 35 exporters took part in auctions over the season from July 14 until August 6.
According to the records maintained by the Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS), 3,198 collection permits were issued, but only 2,281 collectors (sellers) actually participated in the auctions. It is not clear if the 917 did or did not harvest the cordycep this year or if they sold it directly to exporters.
A total of more than 376kgs of cordycep worth around Nu 203M was sold at the auctions. Almost 95kgs of cordycep was withdrawn after auction because of dissatisfaction with the final price while another 86.4kgs was directly exported.
The report stated that the value of cordyceps that was withdrawn after auction or sold directly could not be confirmed, as collectors were not obligated to disclose the price to the officials. “There is also no data on harvest and sale from of the 917 collectors, who did not participate in auctions could not be determined.”
With 255.36kgs, Wangduephodrang dzongkhag recorded the highest collection of cordyceps. Tashiyangtse and Lhuentse combined auctioned 1.01kgs this year.