Cordyceps auction would not be complete without a drama. Last Sunday, in Bumdeling in Trashiyangtse, 31 collectors withdrew from the auction.
The bid for the A+ category had reached up to Nu 555,000 per kilogram.
Nima Tshering from Lhuntse was expecting Nu 7, 50,000. So he pulled out the auction. Other bidders withdrew after Nima Tshering walked out.
Nima Tshering had more than 1,500 pieces of Cordyceps weighing 810 grams. Each piece would have otherwise sold for at lest Nu 100.
“With this quality, I can get a much better price. Last year, I withdrew and got Nu 850,000 per kg of Cordyceps,” said Nima Gyeltshen.
Collectors say that auction is a killer. Hard work doesn’t pay off.
Geduenla, a Cordyceps collector, said that people invests about Nu 15,000 for collection alone. “At the auction we don’t even get Nu 45 per piece of Cordycep.”
The bidding start with the lowest category—Nu 200,000 per kg of Cordyceps; the highest price go up to 555,000.
Over the years, the number of bidders has been decreasing.
Kencho Pema had Cordyceps of C category and she was happy with the price. “The price is good for kind of product because the quality was poor and small.”
Ngawang Tenzin from Terphel village said that Cordyceps yield is declining every year. “We hardly get 10 pieces a day. Sometimes we even have to return empty handed.” He blames it on climate change and increasing number of collectors.
“Only Shingphel village and the upper region were allowed for collection. It [collection] is now legalised for lower region too,” he said.
Mangmi Tshering Wangchuk said that the rules allow three individuals from every highlander household to collect the prized caterpillar. “But we allow only two.”
A forest official said that Cordyceps from the region are in small and did not fetch much price.
Neten Dorji | Bumdeling