English | Dzongkha Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Low price forces almost half of the Cordyceps collectors to withdraw from auction, Saephu Gewog

Aug 4, 2020

The Cordyceps auction at Saephu Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang saw a three-fold decrease in the quantity of cordyceps auctioned compared to last year. The price of the fungi also dropped by almost 60 per cent, and only half of the collectors and a handful of bidders turned up for the auction.

Only about 28 kilograms of cordyceps were auctioned this time compared to the almost 92 kilograms sold last year. The highest price fetched this year was Nu 1.2 M for a kilogram while the lowest was around Nu 100,000. Whereas better quality fetched almost Nu 2 M for a kilogram and Nu 355,000 for the lower quality last year.

According to both bidders and collectors, the uncertainty of relaxation of lockdown measures in the countries where the fungi are exported due to the global pandemic was the main cause for the drop in the price and the quantity auctioned.

“I received Nu 1.2 M, the highest auction price for the 2020 year. Of course, I am not satisfied but it was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so I am okay with what I fetched,” shared Lethro, a collector from Saephu Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang.

“This year we struggled a lot. First for fifteen days, we were hard hit by snowfalls and later the continuous rainfall lasted for almost half a month and impeded the collection. But after much struggle and hard-earned, the prices were low here,” said Phub Gyeltshen, a collector from the same gewog.

Similarly, cordyceps collector from the gewog shared their frustrations of fetching a very low price when the yield has tripled. They also blame the pandemic forcing countries across the globe to resort to lockdown. This has led to many bidders not taking part in the auction at all. There were only three bidders who came from the capital, while the rest were all locals from the nearby places.

Dophu, a bidder from Dangchhu Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang shares his concerns about the difficulties he might face if the lockdown continues. “We have to put in extra effort in taking care and storing the cordyceps properly if the lockdown in other countries is not eased. And I think the prices have come down due to this uncertainty,” he said.

The drop in price has also left the collectors who depend on the fungi for their livelihood concerned. Nidup, a collector from the same gewog says the prices have dropped drastically this time leaving them worried and disheartened. “We are worried about how we could meet the expenses of our children this time,” he said.

Nearly 50 per cent of sellers out of 633 registered Cordeyceps collectors in the gewog withdrew their cordyceps from the auction. Some of them are planning to take part in other auctions in the hope of fetching a better price.

Phub Om, who has withdrawn from the auction in the gewog says she will try her luck in some other auctions. Like her, there are some 300 collectors who withdrew from the auction and want the government’s intervention.

“Because of the low price many collectors have withdrawn from the auction. So if the government could support and show some directions, we will be highly thankful,” said Richen Khandu, the Mangmi of Saephu Gewog.

There are 633 registered collectors in the gewog which also includes collectors from Thangye village in Trongsa. The next auction will be held in Bumthang from tomorrow.


Leave a Reply

− 7 = zero

Copyright © 2020 BBSC.