FCB is exploring bigger markets in India for potatoes

The Food Corporation of Bhutan, FCB with support from relevant stakeholders have now started exploring bigger markets in India for potatoes from Bhutan. Recently a truckload of potatoes was exported to Kolkata for trial from the FCB’s auction yard in Phuentshogling. If everything goes well as planned, the market issues of potato growers are likely to be solved from next year.

Every year, potato growers take their harvest to FCB auction yards in Phuentshogling and Samdrup Jongkhar. They sell their potatoes to buyers from across the border.

However, they are often affected by dwindling prices and delayed sales at the auction yard. This year especially, farmers were hit hard as thousands of kilograms of potatoes rotted in the auction yard.

The FCB in coordination with the Bhutanese Office of the Consulate General in Kolkata and the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives, an Indian businessman from Kolkata was invited to Phuentshogling in September. In keeping with the resolution of a meeting in Phuentshogling, the businessman took a truckload of potatoes recently for trial.

FCB’s Regional Director Tshering Dorji said, “We have been sending potatoes to Kolkata for a decade now but those were solely to make chips. But for household consumption, which we call table potato, this is the first time we are sending them to Kolkata.”

FCB officials said that if it goes well, Bhutan would have a ready market for potatoes from next year.

Similarly, to ease marketing and auctioning issues at the auction yards, FCB is constructing three warehouses, each in Gangtey in Wangdue Phodrang, Bumthang and Trashigang.

Tshering Dorji said, “Wangdue Phodrang and Bumthang are the main potato producers. So, if we have warehouses in Wangdue Phodrang and Bumthang, potato auctions can be done there. Farmers will not have to bring their produce here in Phuentshogling. Only districts like Paro, Haa and Chhukha will bring their produce to the Phuentshogling auction yard. So, we are hoping that everything will go smoothly from next year.

FCB officials said that these warehouses will have the facility for potato sorting, washing and grading. However, for other products like vegetables, farmers will have to continue bringing them to the Phuentshogling auction yard.

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