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Large cardamom farmers demand dev board

- CHANDRA KARKI, TERHATHUM

Jan 16, 2018-

Large cardamom farmers have demanded that the government set up an independent large cardamom development board for addressing problems of the farmers and capitalising on the untapped business potential.

Many farmers believe that the district is yet to harness its true potential of large cardamom due to many unresolved problems. They fear that the cardamom industry in Nepal would lose its competitive edge if such problems are not addressed on time.

Adoption of modern technology, pest control and market access are among the key problems facing the farmers in the district. The producers also said that price fluctuation, farm insurance and availability of credit without collateral are other issues that should be addressed.

This year, the freefall in large cardamom prices--in fact the lowest in several years--due to the low overseas demand has added to farmers’ problems.

Narayan Bhattarai, secretary of Laligurans Cardamom Farming Group of Phedap Rural Municipality, said the government did not envision and deliver enough programmes to help cardamom farmers. Bhattarai said that lack of technical knowledge and direct market access has been the major hurdles for the farmers to reap optimal benefits of the valuable spice crop.

Amid growing uncertainties in harvest, some farmers have pointed out the need of large cardamom farming insurance.

Tek Bahadur Kepchaki, owner of Kepchaki Nursery Industry in Laligurans Municipality 9, said that the government should focus on promoting large cardamom cultivation as the plants keep producing for a long time.

Yogendra Karki, a young farmer of Laligurans Municipality in Phulek, said that the government should arrange credit without collateral to attract youths into cardamom farming. Karki said that the availability of credit at a subsidised rate was essential as large cardamom can be harvested only after three years of plantation.

Large cardamom entrepreneurs also have their own share of unresolved problems.

Tulasi Dhakal, general secretary of the Cardamom Entrepreneurs Association, blamed the government for its negligence in resolving problems of cardamom entrepreneurs. Dhakal said that large cardamom is one of the key foreign exchange earning commodities but it has not been accorded priority.

According to the farmers, uncertain market demand, price fluctuation, quarantine problems, frustrating tax payment process, lack of quality measurement lab, hassles in supplying to Indian market and lack of farm insurance are the main challenges facing cardamom farming.

After a slump in prices throughout the past month, the farmers saw a glimmer of hope as the price of large cardamom gradually surged in the market.

The spice fetched Rs1,100 per kilo, an increase of about Rs300 per kilo.

Published: 16-01-2018 10:16

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