… production falls from 88kg in 2022 to 49kg this year 

Chencho Dema | Punakha 

Collectors in Bumthang could only table 49kg of cordyceps for auction this year as opposed to 88.2kg last year.

Usually, the auction for Chhoekhor and Chumey gewogs is held in Chhoekhor gewog center on July 19 but this year there were no sellers from Chumey gewog. 

Of the 49kg of cordyceps, 37kg were auctioned and 12kg were withdrawn.

An official from Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) said, “Even though the quality of the fungus was good, the seller expected higher bids. Some withdrawals were made in the hopes of earning more money after some bids, notably in Sephu, where it went higher compared to the past.” 

The lowest bid was Nu 680,000 and Nu 4.3M was the highest. The auction saw 31 bidders. The highest bidder said that his bid was based on the super king size and premium quality of the cordyceps, which were uncommon this year.

The royalty for the forest department dropped to Nu 412,574 compared to Nu 741,694.8 collected from the auction last year.

This year 601 permits were issued which is an increase from 489 permits issued with 194 collectors in two gewogs. 

Of the total 88.2kg of cordyceps brought to the auction last year, 17.5kg were withdrawn and 70.541kg was auctioned with the highest bid of Nu 2.265M and lowest bid of Nu 300,000.

The Covid-19 pandemic prevented the auction in 2020 and 2021 from taking place while the first lockdown in 2020 disrupted the Cordyceps auction but DAMC could only hold the auction for Wangduephodrang in 2020.  

However, in 2021, at the request of collectors in Bumthang and in an effort to help them get better prices, the DAMC organised a cordyceps auction for the dzongkhag.

Of the 25.97kg of cordyceps, more than 17kg were sold at auction and the collectors withdrew about 9kg.

Chumey Gup Jampel said that because there was no harvest, there were no sellers from his gewog.