By Laxman Kafle Kathmandu, Jan. 3: With the decline in cardamom yield in India this year, the demand for cardamom produced in Nepal has been rising lately. Cardamom traders said that the price of cardamom produced in Nepal has also increased due to the shortage of cardamom in the Indian market. In the past, the market price of cardamom in India had declined due to higher production there. However, the demand for cardamom in the Nepali market has increased along with price this year as cardamom production in India has declined again. According to Nirmal Bhattarai, former president of the Federation of Large Cardamom Entrepreneurs of Nepal, farmers have been selling a kilogram of cardamom at Rs. 700-800 based on quality at present which was limited at Rs. 600 a kilo last fiscal year. Bhatatrai said that the price of cardamom produced in Nepal has gone up with the increase in demand for cardamom in India. Due to this, the farmers affiliated to this sector are happy, he told The Rising Nepal. As most of the cardamom produced in Nepal is exported to India, the price will fluctuate according to the Indian market. About 80 per cent of the cardamom produced in Nepal is being exported to India, he said, adding that traders have lately started to export cardamom to other countries including Qatar and Dubai. There is no statistics of the consumption of cardamom in Nepal, but it is less than 2 per cent of the total production, he claimed. He urged the government to take initiative to explore the market for selling it at reasonable price as limited market access was a reason behind the farmers being compelled to sell it at nominal price. Almost seven years ago, when the demand in the Indian market was high, the price of cardamom had reached as high as Rs. 3,000 per kilogram. The price is said to be the highest ever.
Production increases by 20%
The production in Nepal has increased by about 15 per cent this year as compared to last year, he said. Around 6,000 tonnes of cardamom has been produced in the country this year while around 5,000 tonnes of cardamom had been produced last year, he said. He also complained that farmers have not been able to get a fair price in the market despite high production. Cardamom is commercially farmed in 43 districts, where around 16,000 hectares of land is under cultivation, he said. Taplejung district of eastern Nepal occupies first position in producing cardamom while Sankhuwasabha is the second highest producer.
Price and export witness increase
Cardamom is one of the most exported products of Nepal to the Indian market. According to the statistics of the Department of Customs, about 3.9 million kilograms of cardamom worth Rs. 3.07 billion has been exported in the first five months of the current fiscal year 2020/21. In the corresponding period of last fiscal year, about 2.31 million kgs of cardamom worth Rs. 1.9 billion was exported from Nepal. The export of cardamom has increased due to increase in its price and demand in the Indian market. The export of cardamom was limited at Rs. 2.63 billion in the last fiscal year 2019/20 due to the impact of COVID-19 and reduction in its price. The country exported cardamom worth Rs. 4.28 billion in the fiscal year 2018/19 and Rs. 4.8 billion in the fiscal year 2017/18.