Large cardamom growers in East take home Rs1.5b

- MADHAB RAJ GHIMIRE, BIRATNAGAR
Large cardamom growers in East take home Rs1.5b

Mar 17, 2015-

Khadga Tiwari of Surungkhim-3 VDC of Taplejung district earned Rs2.1 million from his large cardamom crop this season. He sold 1,680 kg of the spice that he grew on leased land.  

“A single farmer harvests more than 1,600 kg of large cardamom in the village,” Tiwari said. “The high-value agro product is in high demand and gives handsome returns.” Tiwari has bought a plot of land in Birtamod, Jhapa with the money and is constructing a house on it.

Surungkhim village is the largest producer of large cardamom in the eastern mountain region of Nepal. Large cardamom is the major cash crop in the eastern hills and mountain districts. The districts of Taplejung, Ilam, Panchthar, Dhankuta, Terhathum and Sankhuwasabha earned more than Rs1.48 billion from large cardamom this season.

These districts exported 1,400 tonnes of large cardamom in the first six months of the current fiscal year, according to the statistics of the Trade and Export Promotion Centre regional office in Biratnagar. India is the major market for the large cardamom produced in the eastern region. It is also exported to the Gulf countries.

Agricultural products make up the main exports from the Eastern Region to India. “Tea exports in the first six months of the current fiscal year amounted to 6,700 tonnes worth Rs1. 9 billion,” said Krishna Regmi, chief of the centre.

An increase in the area under tea cultivation has also boosted exports.

According to the Tea and Coffee Development Board’s statistics, tea growing areas

in the Eastern Region

amount to 19,271 hectares. Annually, 21,400 tonnes of tea is produced and most of it is exported.

Similarly, exports of live animals stood at Rs90 million, while meats worth Rs250 million were also shipped out of the country last year.

Likewise, exports of fresh vegetables amounted to Rs130 million and lentil exports stood at Rs777 million. Farmers said that ginger had also become a major export commodity in recent years. The figures show that 12,000 tonnes of ginger worth Rs130 million were exported in the last fiscal year.

Other major export products are Kattha, amrisho (broom) and honey. Leather exports totalled Rs410 million in the first six months of the current fiscal. Last year, they amounted to Rs1.04 billion.

“We have been exporting raw leather. If we could export processed leather, our income would double,” said Parvej Akthar, vice-president of the Nepal Leather Industry Association. He added that income from leather could increase significantly if a processing plant was set up in Nepal.

Total exports of agro and industrial goods from the Eastern Region stood at Rs17.11 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal. Imports amounted to Rs58.73 billion during the same period, pointing to a massive trade deficit.

Petroleum products were the main imports, followed by iron and steel, machinery parts, electronic devices and pharmaceutical products. According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, 90 percent of the exports go to India.

Published: 18-03-2015 08:53

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