Thukten Zangpo  

In what is the record price so far, a  kilogram (Kg) of cordyceps fetched Nu 2.8 million (M) in an open auction in Sephu, Wangdue on July 14.

A three-day auction in Sephu gewog that ended on July 16 saw 186 collectors and 30 bidders.

The highest price at the two-day auction in Dangchu gewog held on July 12 and 13 was Nu 1.92M. The auction in Kazhi gewog saw the highest price of Nu 1.1M.

The lowest price for a kg of cordyceps was Nu 0.29M.

From a total of more than 562kg of cordyceps brought at the auction, about 409kg of cordyceps were sold through the auction by collectors of three gewogs. More than 150kg of cordyceps was withdrawn after they could not get their expected price.

The collectors from Sephu gewog sold 293kg, followed by Dangchu gewog at 110kg. While Kazhi gewog residents sold 6kg of cordyceps.

From the auction, the government also collected a royalty amounting to Nu 4.72M.

Sephu Gup, Dawa Tshering said that the harvest was good this year because it was the bumper harvest year. He added that after four years, the harvest may not be as good as today.

However, with a bumper crop in Lunana this year, the record price, many expect will be broken.

“The price and the fungi’s quality are at their best unlike the past year,” Dawa Tshering said. “The gewog saw the highest bidding ever in the country.”

Kazhi Gup, Kinley Wangdi said the cordyceps is the main source of income for Baedrong chiwog under the gewog. He added that this time it was not a good harvest. “However, the cordyceps quality from Lunana was the best.” 

He expects the harvest season to be good next year.

Kinley Wangdi also said that most of the collectors trade with the local traders at the collection site if the price is good enough and retain less amount for the auction.

Last year, a kg of cordyceps fetched the highest price at Nu 1.23M and the lowest at Nu 0.11M during the auction in Bumthang.

According to the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives’ (DAMC) annual report, because of Covid-19 risks and restrictions, DAMC facilitated direct buying and selling where the contact details of 54 interested cordyceps buyers were shared with the collectors directly to make business transactions.

However, after some cordyceps collectors of Bumthang dzongkhag complained about the poor prices the cordyceps fetched, the DAMC facilitated an auction in Bumthang in September last year. There were 18 bidders and 135 cordyceps collectors in the auction. From a total of 25.97 kg of cordyceps declared at the auction site, over 17 kg (over 65 percent) of cordyceps were sold through auction by 67 collectors.

While close to nine kilograms (over 34 percent) of cordyceps were withdrawn by 67 collectors. Overall, the revenue generated through sales of cordyceps by the collectors was Nu 6.77M while Nu 0.22M was collected as royalty to the government.

The cordyceps auctions in Bumthang, Gasa, Lhuentse and Trashiyangtse, Paro, and Thimphu dzongkhags are scheduled in coming weeks.

Additional reporting: Chhimi Dema