Farmers ask govt to set up cardamom dev board

- Post Report, TAPLEJUNG
Stakeholders hold the view the government has not given much attention to the high-value farm product

May 18, 2016-Large cardamom producers in the country’s eastern hill districts have urged the government to allocate funds to set up a large cardamom development board to promote the high-value spice. 

They expressed disappointment that the government had not shown any interest despite repeated attempts by the district council to set up the board. 

The stakeholders hold the view that the government has not given much attention to the high-value farm product despite talk to give high priority to agriculture.

Shiva Gurung, chairman of the Cardamom Farmers Network, said, “Our crops have been damaged by pests and the plants have been dying more frequently. 

We have not received advice or technical support. This year, prices have also fallen and there is no authority to help cardamom farmers.”

The Agriculture Development Office is not able to provide advice to farmers because of lack of skilled manpower.Every year, farmers from the district express their concerns at the area and village council meetings and request the government to address their demands, said Durga Shrestha, officer at the planning department of the District Development Committee. The 22nd district council held this year has also included the issue in its decision number 23. 

Although the government must respond to the requests forwarded by the district council, implementation is another matter. “There is an urgent need to create a special plan to improve the production of cardamom which has fallen sharply because of 

lack of water for irrigation caused by climate change, increased impact of pests, 

old growing areas and traditional farming processes,” said Harishchandra Chilwal, coordinator of the hill programme of the Environment Conservation and Development Forum. 

“The government has established a National Tea and Coffee Development Board to promote tea and coffee which generates less revenue than cardamom. Despite the big contribution to the economy, society and environment, the government seems to be less concerned.”    

Due to the high income from selling cardamom, the eastern hill districts have not faced food insecurity. The farmers sell cardamom and purchase daily essentials from the money earned. Even workers who do not own land make good money by working on cardamom farms. Chilwal said that serious problems would arise if prices and production keep dropping. 

According to the Ministry of Agricultural Development, large cardamom is cultivated on 12,453 hectares in 37 districts. Government statistics show that Nepal exported large cardamom worth Rs2.71 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year.

 

Published: 18-05-2016 09:56

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