Agriculture: The price of local potatoes at the Food Corporation of Bhutan Ltd (FCBL) auction yard in Phuentsholing has dropped.

This is because potatoes from the Indian state of Punjab and Bardawan in India have captured the market in Silliguri.

At this time of the season potatoes from the cold storage come out in the market but do not affect the market much, FCBL officials said. However, this time, even the red potatoes have come into the market.

The highest price recorded at the FCBL auction yard was Nu 27 per kilogramme (kg) on August 9. The price fell to Nu 24 yesterday.

Marketing advisor with FCBL, Bhimraj Gurung, said that the price at the auction yard was higher by Nu 5 to Nu 6 per kilogramme compared to potatoes in India.

“Red potato has come out there this time because the chips manufacturing companies had not bought much,” the marketing advisor said. “But the market is not that bad right now.”

A team from the Department of Agriculture visited Phuentsholing to discuss the way forward with FCBL.

The current market situation may last up to 20 to 25 days, Bhimraj Gurung said. There are still more potatoes flooding the market in Silliguri from cold storage houses in Punjab and Bardawan.

Supply to Nepal has also decreased because of the same reason. A kilogramme of potato is going for Nu 16 until the India and Nepal borders.

The price of potatoes was good this season compared to last year. Average prices were recorded between Nu 13 and Nu 24 per kilogramme depending on the size and type until August 11.

Around the same time in 2015, prices were between Nu 9 and Nu 15.

Despite rain destroying huge quantities of potatoes in Chukha, arrivals have been better this year. More than 3,681.55 metric tonnes of potatoes arrived at the auction yard until now.

While potato farmers may be worried with the market situation, cabbage farmers are doing well at the moment. The price has shot up by at least Nu 800 from a week ago.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing