Export: At this time of the season typically, the banks of Dungsamchhu in Samdrupjongkhar would be crowded with mandarin dealers, depots, and trucks.

This year, however, the picture is quite the opposite. There is no teeming crowd. For the past one month, nothing pretty much has been happening here.

It’s been a bad year for mandarin growers. Export has dropped by almost 90 percent. Already the dealers are worried that they might have to close their depot.

Usually, the season holds until March.

Of the five exporters in Samdrupjongkhar, only three have set up depot this year.

Although price has remained constant at USD 13 per box for meel (big) and USD 10 per box for keel (small), production has been low.

Sayna, a mandarin dealer, said that usually production is higher than demand. “I would have exported 20,000 boxes of mandarin by this time. This year, however, I could export only about 6,000 boxes.”

Today, exporters get just about 50 boxes of mandarin orange in a day. Around this time last year, more than 1,000 boxes of mandarin orange arrived in a day.

Dealers said that they got mandarin orange from Tashiyangtse, Lhuntse and Nganglam but not from Pemagatshel and Gomdar in Samdrupjongkhar.

Langa Dorji, a dealer, who employed about 30 students to work at the depot last year, said he could not employ a single student this year because the depot is empty, pretty much. There is nothing to do than wait all day.

“So far, I’ve been able to export only about 177 boxes of orange,” said Langa Dorji.

Rinchen Namgay, a farmer from Nganglam, said he could manage to supply only about 100 boxes of mandarin orange this year. “Income from this is small.”

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar