Cardamom worth Rs. 5.1 billion exported in eight months


Kathmandu, Mar. 24: Despite a sharp fall in production, Nepal earned almost equal amount from the export of cardamom during the first eight months of the current fiscal year.

Increment in the price of cardamom has contributed to recovery of income from the cardamom export despite declined export in terms of quantity during the review period.

The statistics of the Department of Customs showed that the export of cardamom in quantity has decreased by 51 per cent during the first eight months of the current fiscal year as compared to the same period last year.

In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, the export of cardamom has decreased by about 3,720 tonnes compared to the same period last fiscal year. Only about 3,545 tonnes of cardamom have been exported in the first eight months of the current fiscal year while 7,265 tonnes of cardamom had been exported in the same period last fiscal year.

In the meantime, in terms of value, the export has decreased only by 11 per cent during the review period as compared to the corresponding period last fiscal year. 

According to the statistics, the country exported cardamom worth Rs. 5.17 billion during the first eight months of the current fiscal year. Cardamom worth Rs. 5.86 billion had been exported during the first eight months of the last fiscal year.

Production falls by almost 50%

President of Large Cardamom Entrepreneurs' Association of Nepal Nirmal Bhattarai said although there has been a significant decline in the sale of cardamom, the income from the sale of cardamom has not decreased due to increase in its prices.

“Due to a decline in production of cardamom, the export dropped significantly. The production of cardamom decreased by almost 50 per cent this year compared to last year,” he said.

Around only 5,000 tonnes of cardamom were expected to be produced in the country this year, he said, however the actual statistics was not collected from all districts. Around 9,000 tonnes of cardamom were produced in the last fiscal year.

Bhattarai said that the production of cardamom has been declining over the last few years due to lack of proper irrigation facilities and various diseases. Looking at the present scenario, the production of cardamom will further decline by 30 per cent in the coming year than this year’s production.

The cardamom is farmed in 53 districts, where around 18,000 hectares of land is under cultivation, he said. Out of it, production has started from 15,000 hectares of land. Taplejung district occupies the first position in producing cardamom while Sankhuwasabha is the second highest producer. Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha and Panchthar districts account for more than 50 per cent of the country's total cardamom production, Bhattarai said.

“If the government did not pay attention to providing quality seeds, managing irrigation facilities and controlling diseases, the cardamom production will gradually decline and the income earned from this sector will decline gradually and farmers involved in this sector will be displaced,” he said.

Price increases by up to 40%

According to Bhattarai, the price of cardamom has increased by up to 40 per cent this year than last year’s price. Farmers have been selling a kilogram of cardamom at Rs. 2,000-2,200 per kg based on quality at present which was limited to Rs. 1,400 to Rs. 1,500 a kilo last fiscal year.

Bhattarai 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 despite the drop in production, he told The Rising Nepal.

The price of cardamom has been fluctuating significantly in the local market based on its production in Nepal and India. The price of cardamom had reached more than Rs. 100,000 per 40 kgs almost a decade ago. Due to this, the area of cardamom farm is gradually increasing in the country. But later, the price of cardamom dropped to Rs. 800-900 per kg two years ago.

Large cardamom is exported to India and then to other countries. So, there are huge possibilities and opportunities to be exploited by price. Large cardamom occupies an important place in Nepal's foreign export trade.

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

He said that the farmers are encouraged to be involved in the cardamom farming as this crop gives better returns better than other cash crops and help uplift the living standard of the rural people.

“We want to request the government and other concerned stakeholders for increasing production with the area of plantation area. If production increases, Nepal can bring a huge amount of foreign currency from this sector and contribute to the national economy as well as small farmers of the country,” he said.

Nepal has made a substantial export of cardamom worth Rs. 8.27 billion in the last fiscal year. This was the highest-ever export of cardamom from Nepal.

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