Drop in price puts producers in dilemma

- CHANDRA KARKI, TEHRATHUM

Jul 25, 2017-

Large cardamom producers in Tehrathum, Dhankuta, Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung districts have been reluctant to sell their products with the agro product’s price in a freefall this year. 

On the other hand, many farmers who are targeting to sell their products even at lower prices have not been able to clear their stocks. 

The market price of large cardamom this year has dropped by more than 60 percent. According to farmers, the agricultural product fetches only Rs900 per kg compared to Rs2,750 per kg last year. With the downfall in price, many farmers have been turning away from nurturing the plants in their farmlands. 

The weary farmers, who had been compelled to stock their products for up to last 10 months expecting a higher price, are now longing to sell the product even at the low price. However, these farmers too are unable to make out their way.

Unable to clear their old stocks, the farmers are having difficulty managing a space for the new harvest this year. “I am having piles of unsold product at the warehouse,” said Gopi Dhungana, a farmer from Khamlalung.

Traders, on the other hand, also shared the similar woes. 

Gopal Bhujel, a large cardamom trader at Basantapur, said he was compelled to stock four tonnes of unsold product at his warehouse. Bhujel purchased 40kg cardamom for Rs90,000-110,000 last year. “If I sell the product at the prevailing price, it will not recover even my principle amount,” said Bhujel, adding that he was hard hit by the interest payment to the bank.

A large number of farmers have not taken out their products for sale with the successive decline in the product’s price. Tulasi Dhakal, general secretary of the Large Cardamom Traders’ Association (LCTA), said the farmers are still waiting for the price to raise. 

Tehrathum is one of the main producers of the Nepali agro product. The product is being exported to the third countries via India. 

As per the traders’ association, the price has dropped to almost a third in the last one year. At present, the A-grade product costs Rs1,000 per kg while the B- and C-grade products are being sold at Rs950 and Rs900 per kg respectively. As a result, the product’s turnover in the district has dropped almost by half compared to the transaction last year, the traders said. 

Amrit Subedi, district president of the LCTA, said the sharp drop in cardamom price have left both the farmers and traders disappointed. 

Basantapur, Lasune, Jirikhimti, Sukrabare and Morahang are the major market areas in Tehrathum that used to bring out a turnover of large cardamom worth more than 

Rs700 million.

Published: 25-07-2017 08:30

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