Potato price at the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) auction yard in Phuentsholing has soared in the last few days.

Farmers auctioned 100kg medium sized red potatoes at Nu 2,305. The price has climbed from Nu 1,600 about a month ago.

Ugyen, a farmer from Jabana, who auctioned 42 bags of potatoes on October 31, said it was a relief.

“There are so many buyers today,” he said. “But it is only the medium sized potatoes that are selling well.”

Ugyen said that this category of tuber is in demand to be used as seedlings. Farmers are expecting the price to go higher, he said.

Large red potatoes were selling at Nu 2,145 for 100kg as of yesterday. The small tuber that fetched farmers about Nu 300 is now auctioned at more than Nu 1,000.

Price of white potatoes is not as high, however. The price ranges from Nu 400 to 1,400 for 100kg depending on the size.

Although farmers are happy with the price, delay while unloading potatoes and taking it to auction is a challenge. Many have unloaded their potatoes on the roadside and wrapped with tarpaulins.

One driver, Dorji, was still waiting for his turn to unload.

“It is 12 days now and I am hopeful that my truck will get unloaded today,” the driver said.

There are still more than 100 trucks and boleros waiting for their turn to unload. After unloading, it still takes time to take it on auction.

As of yesterday noon, trucks that had arrived between October 17 and October 21 were being unloaded. This means trucks and boleros that arrived after October 23 are still waiting to queue in the list.

Lhatu, 78, from Wangdue, said government should think of a better plan to deal with such problems that farmers face.

“I waited for 14 days,” he said. “It is too much for an old man like me.”

After auctioning 5,000kg potatoes on October 31, Lhatu is currently waiting for the payment.

Lack of space has been the major challenge facing the farmers.

FCBL officials have requested the road safety office and traffic police to allow parking by the roadsides.

Festive mood in diwali and chhad puja towards October end also had hit the auction process, as traders from across the border, who are the main buyers, did not show up at the yard.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing