English | Dzongkha Sunday, April 11, 2021

Cordyceps collectors in Dangchhu disappointed with the price at the auction, Wangdue

Jul 30, 2020

Enduring the harsh weather conditions on the high mountains for months, the country’s Cordyceps collectors are back at the auction yard with hopes of getting compensated for their sacrifice like in the past years. But they were left disappointed with poor buyer-turnout and low price.

This time, it was altogether a different story for some 112 Cordyceps collectors gathered at Dangchhu Gewog office in Wangdue Phodrang to auction the prized fungi. While 10 of them withdrew due to low price, the rest endured the two-day auction hoping for a turn of events. 94.1 kilograms of Cordyceps were auctioned thereof.

Chogyal Wangmo, a collector from Dangchhu Gewog, shares her frustrations over the low price, “I am disheartened since our hard work is wasted. Firstly, I could not get good numbers of cordyceps this time and secondly the price is very low when we reached here. It is quite disheartening. I am wondering about how to meet the expenditure for my school-going children. Although the price was good last year, there were no fungi in the mountains.”

Some collectors said they could not gather better quality Cordyceps this season due to unfavourable weather condition. Their collection sites were covered with snow during the collection time. Considering this, the government had granted an extension of collection period by two weeks.

To the dismay of the collectors, some of the Cordyceps were rejected. It failed to qualify for the three categories set for auctioning based on quality.

Penjor Gyeltshen, from the same gewog plans to hold on to his fungi and try in other auctions. “The price for the fungi is too low, and moreover I did not get that much good amount of cordyceps due to snowfall. I put only a few fungi in the auction here after hearing the poor price. So, I am planning to sell the rest at the auction in Saephu Gewog. I kept the balance thinking that I might get a good price later.”

The highest price fetched at the auction was Nu 1.2 M for a kilogram while the lowest was Nu 65,000 for the same amount.

According to Gyeltshen, a collector from the same gewog, the fall in price is attributed to the low turnout of buyers and the closure of international borders due to the pandemic. “The cordyceps which I have sold here at Nu 1 M for a kilogram today was getting around Nu 1.5 to 1.6 M last year. The price was exceptionally good since there was a trade route outside. But this time due to the pandemic situation, there are no buyers from outside and all the buyers are locals like us. Probably, this could be the reason for not having a good price this time. It doesn’t matter whether we get Nu 400 to 500,000 per kilogram, we still have our heartfelt gratification to His Majesty The King for granting us such a wonderful Soelra,” he added.

There were only six bidders at the auction and all of them were from Dangchhu Gewog. People said, earlier, at least 20 bidders and exporters from Thimphu and other places would take part.

“I think the main reason for the poor price this time is due to the current pandemic situation. Since we do not have buyers in the country, we have to sell it outside only. But there is no demand from outside this time. So, even our buyers are confused this time since there is no demand from outside. In the past, lots of businessmen come for the auction, but this time, not even a single had come so far,” said Tashi Penjor, a buyer from Dangchhu Gewog.

Every year, people of Dangchhu Gewog collect Cordyceps from the mountains of Methha-Chhutha, Tangchulay and Yango in June.

Changa Dorji

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