Ginger farmers switch to sutho to offset price dropWith the monsoon season coming soon, ginger farmers of Nawalparasi are in rush to prepare sutho (dried ginger).
With the monsoon season coming soon, ginger farmers of Nawalparasi are in rush to prepare sutho (dried ginger). One can see farmers drying their produce by putting them on nets made of metal wire and placing the nets over a fire. Ram Bahadur Magar of Devchuli is one of the farmers who is drying the spicy root on the temporary firewood oven built on the open ground.
They have started preparing sutho following the sharp decline in price of the spicy root due to oversupply. “Traders are offering very low price for our gingers. So, we started preparing sutho which will fetch higher price,” said Magar. “Also, since sutho is dried, it can be stored for a longer period of time without spoiling.
It is not only Magar who has stopped selling raw ginger. Majority of the ginger farmers in the district are also preparing sutho to get a higher value for their produce. Some of the farmers worked together to build a large firewood oven, to facilitate the drying of ginger. While the traders are offering Rs 30 - 40 per 2.3 kg of ginger, the same amount of sutho fetches up to Rs 300.
Most of the district’s ginger harvests are exported to India. But last year, India restricted entry of Nepali ginger, citing pesticide contamination. As a result, the price went down sharply to Rs 40 per 2.3 kg from Rs 80 per 2.3 kg. Now, middlemen are trying to reap undue benefits, saying ginger cannot be exported to India.
According to District Agriculture Office of Nawalparasi, the district produced an estimated 11,500 tonnes of ginger last year. Jaubari, Arkhala, Bharatipur, Mithukaram, Ruchang, Rakuwa, Bulingtar, Ratanpur, Hupsikot, Dhurkot and Dhaubhadi are key ginger producing areas in the district. The district has 1,300 hectares of land dedicated to the cultivation of the spice.
Nepal is the world’s third largest ginger producer after China and India. In 2012-13, Nepal’s total ginger production reached 235,000 tonnes, out of which, about 60 percent was exported. India is the main export market for Nepali ginger. The southern neighbour buys around 94 percent of Nepal’s fresh ginger and 6 percent of processed product.
According to Nepal Ginger Profile 2016, which was produced jointly by UK Aid-funded Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme and the Nepal Ginger Producers and Traders Association, the spice has huge overseas trading potential if substantial improvements can be made in yield, quality and volume by investing more on research and development. Even without a substantial improvement in quality, small trading hubs in India will continue to be major markets for local ginger, said the research report.