Drop in cardamom prices worries Lamjung farmersLarge cardamom farmers in the western Nepali district of Lamjung are worried these days, as prices of the spice have dropped sharply due to over production and lower demand in India.
Large cardamom farmers in the western Nepali district of Lamjung are worried these days, as prices of the spice have dropped sharply due to over production and lower demand in India.
Farmers of Ghanapokhara, for instance, fetched Rs1,050 for a kg of cardamom this year, as against Rs2,100 in the last year. Farmers of Siurung, on the other hand, had to sell each kg of cardamom for Rs1,100 this year, compared with Rs2,100 last year. Cardamom is grown in around 28 village development committees in this district.
Lamjung recorded a bumper cardamom harvest this year, with production jumping 20 to 30 percent.
“But as production went up, prices fell, preventing us from reaping expected profit,” said Hom Bahadur Gurung, president of the Cardamom Development Board in the district.
Milijuli Agricultural Cooperative of Bhulbhule-6 alone produced 15 quintals of cardamom this year, as against 13 quintals a year ago. These farmers received Rs1,300 for each kg of the spice, which is relatively better than prices offered to farmers of Siurung and Ghanapokhara, but far lower than Rs2,100 per kg recorded last year.
Farmers of Pasgaun also produced 41 quintals of cardamom this year, generating revenue of Rs5.5 million. Had the farmers been able to sell the produce at last year’s price, they would have easily generated Rs8.6 million, said Gurung.
Although over production played a part in reducing the price of cardamom, the Indian government’s decision to ban IRs500 and IRs1,000 notes—which lowered demand—also exerted pressure on the price, according to Krishna Bhadra Adhikari, senior officer of District Agricultural Office, Lamjung.
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.
Cardamom is produced mainly in the eastern hills in Nepal, although cultivation of the spice has now spread to more than 38 districts across the country, as more and more farmers in different parts of the country have lately started growing this crop.
Ilam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Terhathum, Bhojpur and Dhankuta districts are the major large cardamom producing areas in Nepal. Taplejung is the top producer of cardamom with an annual output of 2,400 tonnes worth Rs6 billion.
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.
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.