Cardamom trade resumesLarge cardamom trade, which was halted following Indian government’s move to demonetise 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes, resumed from on Sunday.
Large cardamom trade, which was halted following Indian government’s move to demonetise 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes, resumed from on Sunday.
On the first day, the spice was traded at Rs1,350 per kg, against Rs2,750 per kg in the same period last year, said Nirmal Bhattarai, president of Large Cardamom Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal.
“As large cardamom trade has resumed in the Indian market, we have decided to resume business in Nepal as well,” he said. “However, the Nepali market is yet to return to normalcy.”
As large cardamom price has dropped sharply this year, there are few sellers. Traders said only those who are in need of money are supplying their produce to the market.
The high-value spice crop is exported to Siliguri in India and then supplied to New Delhi. Nearly 90 percent of the large cardamom grown in Nepal is exported to India.
From India, the spice is re-exported to Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Gulf countries and other overseas destinations. Bhattarai said large cardamom price dropped this year due to low overseas demand.
Meanwhile, farmers in Bhojpur are worried about falling price. “The prices had been soaring for the past few years and the farmers had expanded their plantations. But this year, we are struggling to sell our produce,” said Tirtha Raj Parajuli, a local farmer of Helauchha in Bhojpur.
Another farmer Tanka Prasad Rai of Kimalu said if the price fall continues at the same pace, it will be difficult for them to even survive. Cardamom is produced mainly in the eastern hills of Nepal. Outside Nepal, the spice is grown only in Sikkim and Darjeeling in India and Bhutan. Large cardamom was introduced into Ilam from Sikkim in 1865.
Nepal is the largest producer of large cardamom, accounting for 68 percent of the international market. It is followed by India and Bhutan.
Ilam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Terhathum, Bhojpur and Dhankuta districts are the major large cardamom producing areas in Nepal. Cultivation of the spice has now spread to more than 38 districts. Taplejung is the top producer with an annual output of 2,400 tonnes worth Rs6 billion.
Large cardamom is one of the major contributors to Nepal’s foreign exchange earnings. According to government statistics, Nepal exported large cardamom valued at Rs4.61 billion in the last fiscal year. In the previous fiscal year 2014-15, shipments totalled Rs3.83 billion.