Price of cardamom soars, production falls

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By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, Dec. 8: Export and price of cardamom, one of the major exportable items, have significantly increased this year. However, production of the cash crop is likely to decline by 50 per cent compared to last year’s yields. 

According to trade statistics of the Department of Customs, the export of cardamom has increased by around 10 per cent in the first four months of the current fiscal year compared to the same period last fiscal year. 

The country has exported cardamom worth Rs. 2.15 billion during the first four months of the current fiscal year.

Cardamom worth Rs. 1.96 billion was exported in the first four months of the last fiscal year 2022/23.

However, in terms of quantity, the export of cardamom has dropped by 29 per cent (704 tonnes) during the review period.

About 1,737 tonnes of cardamom was exported in the first four months of the current fiscal year while 2,441 tonnes of cardamom was exported in the corresponding period last fiscal. 

Nirmal Bhattarai, president of the Large Cardamom Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal, said that the export of cardamom in terms of value increased despite a fall in terms of quantity because of the sharp increase in cardamon price.

“The price of cardamom has doubled this year compared to last year, and this has provided relief to the farmers even if the production has declined. Currently, farmers are selling a kg of cardamom at the rate of Rs. 1,600 to Rs. 1,650,” he said.

The farmers sold cardamom at Rs. 700 per kg last year. However, the price of cardamom had increased to Rs. 2,600 per kg a few years ago. 

According to him, the overall export of cardamom in terms of value is likely to decrease by almost 20 per cent as the production is predicted to fall by 50 per cent this year as compared to the previous year’s production.

“It is predicted that cardamom worth around Rs. 7 billion will be exported this year. Last year, the country exported cardamom worth Rs. 8.27 billion,” he said.

According to him, around 5,000 tonnes of cardamon will be produced this year while the country produced more than 8,500 tonnes of cardamom last year.  Now the farmers are busy selling cardamom as they are getting unexpectedly high price. 

Generally, farmers sell cardamom when the price rises and store it when the price falls.

Cardamom is cultivated in around 18,500 hectares of land in 43 districts, Bhattarai said. However, production has not begun in 3,500 hectares of the land.

Bhattarai, however, said that the production of cardamom did not increase in line with the expansion of the farming areas because of various diseases and the lack of availability of agricultural inputs required for cardamom cultivation.

He said that the farmers are encouraged to grow cardamom as this crop gives a better return than other cash crops and helps uplift the living standards of the rural people. Farmers in Ilam, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha and Dhankuta earn good income from cardamom. 

“Due to good quality, demand for cardamom produced in Nepal is high in the international market. But Nepal is unable to export it directly to other countries,” he said. “India is the only major market of Nepali cardamoms.” 

According to him, Nepal will make more benefit if cardamom is exported with value addition. “We can add value by 30 per cent in cardamom export,” he said.

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