The online auction yard at the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) in Phuentsholing, which is also the first in the country, traded 1,443metric tons (MT) potatoes worth Nu 37.6 million (M) this year.

This is an increase from 1,147MT of potatoes worth Nu 17.3M traded online in 2017.

The online auction is a facility FCBL is providing in collaboration with the Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan Limited (RSEBL) under the commodity market initiative (CMI).

In September 2017, a grading machine was installed at the auction yard, which cost about Nu 6 million (M).

RSEB and FCBL have been working on the system since September 2016 and online trading was also carried. Another grading machine was installed at the auction yard this year.

Online auction manager, Purna Tamang, said potatoes were auctioned sooner this year.

“Usually, people bring potatoes until December end,” he said, adding that the produce stopped from last month this year.

In November 2017, FCBL was able to auction about 536MT of tuber through online. Last month, 149MT was traded online.

Purna Tamang said the price was better this year and growers, he added.

He said since the online auction starts in September, a major chunk of online trading was done in October this year with 938MT traded compared to last year’s 353MT.

“Villagers are taking interest in trading online,” Purna Tamang said.

The manager said that a truckload of potatoes with a better grading and traded online would earn more than Nu 500,000. The same truckload of potato would do a business of more than Nu 300,000 if auctioned the conventional method.

There are about 13 traders from across the border, who opt for online auction.

Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing