Large cardamom price plunges three-foldThe price of large cardamom has plunged three-fold due to drop in overseas demand coinciding with a rise in output this year. It has left a large number of farmers worried.
The price of large cardamom has plunged three-fold due to drop in overseas demand coinciding with a rise in output this year. It has left a large number of farmers worried.
The price of the spice that went as high as Rs3,000 per kg last year, has nosedived to Rs875 per kg. The farm gate price is even lower. “This year’s price fall was beyond our imagination,” said Nirmal Bhattarai, president of Federation of large cardamom entrepreneurs of Nepal. “The low overseas demand and the impact of India’s demonetisation move were the key reasons behind the fall in price,” he said. Traders said that spice orders from Pakistan have also dropped significantly.
Large cardamom farmers in Ramechhap are being compelled to sell the spice at a lower price following a significant drop in international price of the commodity. This year, farmers in Ramechhap are finding it difficult to sell the spice even at Rs1,050 to Rs1,100 per kg. Farmers, who had refrained from selling cardamom as they had anticipated upward movement in prices, are now ready to compromise. Last year, farmers fetched up to Rs2,200 for every kg of cardamom they sold.
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.
The high-value cash crop is produced mainly in the eastern hills in 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.