… 118 kgs auctioned this year against 659 kgs in 2022

Chencho Dema

Punakha – After the bumper harvest last year, cordyceps production, going by amounts presented at the public auction, fell by 82 percent to 118 kgs this year. 

The public auction held at nine gewog centres in cordyceps collection areas between July 12 and August 6 raised only Nu 1.4 million in royalties for the government. 

However, collectors are not surprised. They said that after the bumper harvest, which comes once in four years, the yield diminishes. 

Collectors in Wangdue saw the highest and the lowest bids: Nu 5.1 million a kg in Sephu gewog, marking a new record high, and Nu 0.48 million in Dangchu gewog.

Collectors auctioned more than 659 kgs of cordyceps worth Nu 414.7 million last year whereas more than 301 kgs cordyceps were withdrawn after the collectors could not get their desired price. 

Last year, 2,943 permits were issued and 1,317 collectors auctioned their cordyceps. However, this year the auctioning across the country saw participation of 39 bidders and 810 collectors. 

Since 2018, 2019 and 2022, this year’s cordyceps harvest had the lowest yield. Public auctions were not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.  

A total of 355.57 kgs was auctioned in 2019,  346.74 kgs in 2018 and 376.76 kgs of cordyceps were auctioned in 2017. 

Meanwhile, 63 kgs of the cordyceps were taken off the auction despite a successful sale, as collectors were not satisfied with the offer price. 

The withdrawn cordyceps were traded independently amongst the parties after the sale and were also traded locally,according to a report recently released by the Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives. 

Chokhor Gewog in Bumthang, one of the Gewogs that were permitted to collect cordyceps, recorded the largest collection, gathering more than 49 kgs of the fungus. Gasa and Sephu gewogs came next, each with 43 and 34kgs.

Kazhi gewog in Wangdue reported the lowest collection, with only 1.01 kgs.

Residents from 15 gewogs in Wangdue, Gasa, Bumthang, Paro, Thimphu, and Trashiyangtse are allowed to collect the fungus.

According to the rules and regulations for collection and harvesting cordyceps, buyers should pay 10 percent of the buying cost per kilogram as royalty.