Ginger exports to India back on track, for now

- PRATAP BISTA, HETAUDA

Jul 22, 2017-

Ginger exports to India resumed on Thursday after the Indian government unilaterally halted movement of the Nepali product for two weeks. Traders are exporting the high-value spice produce through the Kakarvitta border point in the eastern region. 

Gopal Gautam, President of Nepal Ginger Producers Association in Makwanpur, said that traders have started exporting ginger after they were permitted to do so by Indian authorities.  He said nearly 50 trucks of gingers were exported on Thursday and Friday. 

According to him, 750 tonnes of gingers were shipped from Makwanpur to India via Kakarvitta. Due to the halt in exports, nearly 40 tonnes of ginger had become spoilt while 300 tonnes of ginger are still stranded at the warehouse in Makwanpur. 

“It’s been difficult on traders due to the constantly changing policy by India,” said Gautam, “Both traders and producers have been affected by the inconsistent trade policy of India.” 

Traders said that following the halt of ginger export, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) along with the Agricultural and Commerce ministries made efforts to resume trade with India,” said Nirmal Gadal, chief of Agriculture Development Office in Makwanpur, “However, we are not sure whether India will continue to let traders export their products.”  

Makwanpur district produces 6,425 tonnes of ginger annually. Of the total output, only 5 percent is consumed in the local market. The rest of them are exported to India. Traders said that price of ginger has also dropped significantly. Now, they don’t fetch even Rs20 per kg.  Ginger is produced on 421 hectares in Makwanpur. 

According to Nepal Ginger Profile 2016, which was produced jointly by UK Aid-funded Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme and the Nepal Ginger Producers and Traders Association, the spice has huge overseas trading potential if substantial improvements can be made in yield, quality and volume by investing more on research and development.

Even without a substantial improvement in quality, small trading hubs in India will continue to be major markets for local ginger, said the report.

Globally, Nepal is the third largest ginger producer after China and India. In 2012-13, Nepal’s total ginger production reached 235,000 tonnes, out of which about 60 percent was exported. India is the main export market for Nepali ginger. The southern neighbour buys close to 94 percent of Nepal’s fresh ginger and 6 percent of processed ginger.

Last year too, the Indian authorities had halted Nepali ginger exports to India stating that Nepali ginger contained traces of harmful pesticide. 

However, the test report did not showed any harmful pesticides and India subsequently lifted the ban on import of ginger from Nepal. Indian traders alleged that ginger exported from Nepal were originally produced in China, mixed in Nepali product and then exported to India.

Published: 22-07-2017 09:04

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