Potato production drops in 2015

Potato: The country’s potato production declined in 2015. The Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCBL) auctioned 22,597.24 metric tonnes of potato, 14.22 percent less than the 2014 figure.

Potato price was good in 2014 because of crop failure in West Bengal, and farmers brought about 26,345.58 metric tonnes of potato to the auction yards.

Average potato price dropped to Nu 16.55 a kilo in 2015 from Nu 25.97 in 2014. However, price analysis for the last 10 years shows that the average price in 2015 was better than all the years.

FCBL officials say that production could have gone down in 2015 because farmer sold even the seeds because of good price. It has also been observed that hoarding is a major problem with the potato farmers in the country.

“People hoard their harvest expecting a better price,” said Karma Nidup, chief executive officer of FCBL. FCBL had to repeatedly advise the farmers not to hoard their harvest.

Karma Nidup said that potato farmers needed to learn “proper grading.” Poor grading results in less money.

“Buyers have to buy and grade the produce as per the size,” said Karma Nidup. Investment is involved in the process, he added.

Potato is one of the major cash crops in the country. In 2014, potato worth Nu 684.10 million was auctioned. Auction figure touched Nu 415.56 million in 2013.

FCBL auctioned 3,841.26 metric tonnes of vegetables in the 2015, the highest since 2006. An increase of 31.35 percent was observed compared to in 2014 figure.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing

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