Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Although the arrival of oranges at the depots in Phuentsholing this season has decreased, exporters in Phuentsholing said the quality has improved.

A supplier from Jabana in Paro, Chencho Wangdi said the business is stable.

On last Friday, he brought about 100 pons (one pon has 80 oranges) of oranges at the Toorsa depot. In total, Chencho Wangdi said he would be supplying 1,500 pons this season.

Oranges is exported mostly to Bangladesh. The floor price is USD 12 and USD 15 per box depending on the size.

Kyeldrup Export’s manager said the market was good before December 20.

“The quantity of orange has decreased this year,” he said, adding that his company has exported about 14-15 truckloads of mandarin to Bangladesh.

“Last year, we were able to export more than 25 trucks by this time.”

The manager estimates a 40 percent reduction in production this year. Further, he said oranges export and production are both falling each year.

Meanwhile, it is the cold weather in the region that has hit the market these days. Demand from Bangladesh is also affected.

An importer from Bangladesh said Bangladesh has become very cold.

“Although oranges are still exported but consumption has come down,” he said, explaining consumption falls during cold days.

“This hampers the price both in Bangladesh and Bhutan.”

Proprietor of Druk Phuensum Import and Export House (DPIEH) at Toorsa, Sonam Tobgay also said the market is down at the moment due to weather conditions.

However, Sonam Tobgay said the fruit quality is better this time with bigger sizes and greater taste.

DPIEH is one of the biggest mandarin exporters and operates from both Phuentsholing and Gelephu. The export house has already exported about 170 truckloads of oranges to Bangladesh, out of which 89 truckloads are from Phuentsholing.

Meanwhile, Druk Phuentsum is also the only export company with a depot at Toorsa this year. Without the space in Toorsa this year, most exporters have settled in Gelephu for the export.

Although space was provided, exporters did not use the land owing to the proximity to the border town of Jaigaon. Druk Phuensum has its own private space.

Three export houses have rented space at FCBL auction yard in Phuentsholing.

Bhutanese exporters exported 6,396.38 metric tonnes (MT) of oranges worth USD 2.5 million (M) in 2017-2018 season. In the 2016-2017 season, Bhutan exported 23,482MT of oranges to Bangladesh worth USD 10.14M.