Ginger farmers, traders thrilled as prices double

- PRADEEP MENYANBO, SUNSARI

Jun 23, 2018-

Ginger farmers and traders in the eastern hills are ecstatic with prices doubling within a week. The spicy root, which was being sold at Rs30-35 per kg a week ago at the Dharan Agricultural Goods Market, now fetches Rs60-75. Ginger exports to Indian have reached 20-40 tonnes daily after the price hike.

According to the Agricultural Goods Market management committee, 10,000 tonnes of ginger had been shipped to the Indian market as of mid-June. Considering the trend, around 12,000 tonnes of ginger are expected to be exported to India. A surge in demand for ginger in India is the major reason behind the price hike. “The price of ginger began rising this week,” said Binod Rai, a ginger trader. “However, it is too soon to be happy with the surge in prices.”

As around 95 percent of the ginger produced in Nepal is exported to India, Nepali ginger farmers will incur losses if the southern neighbour reduces imports. Last year, ginger

farmers and traders lost more than Rs500 million when India halted imports of the spicy root from Nepal.

Four years ago, ginger prices rose to Rs160 per kg, prompting thousands of farmers in the eastern region to switch to growing the spice. A large number of farmers in Sunsari, Morang, Dhankuta, Tehrathum, Bhojpur, Sankhuwasabha, Udaypur, Khotang and Sindhuli districts invested in ginger farming, leading to a boost in production. However, their hopes of earning a handsome profit were shattered after India stopped buying their crops.

With a majority of farmers in the region switching to ginger cultivation, production has been swelling. According to the Agricultural Goods Market, 6,873 tonnes of ginger were produced in the fiscal year 2015-16 which surged to 9,567 tonnes in 2016-17. Traders expect production to reach 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes in the current fiscal year ending mid-July.

According to ginger trader Ram Prasad Rai, the price of the spicy root is fixed once it reaches Naxalbari in India, and Nepali farmers and traders do not have control over it. Farmers and traders will get a better deal if alternative ginger markets are identified, according to him.

Laxman Bhattarai, manager of the Agricultural Goods Market, said Nepali ginger farmers were in a precarious position due to the vagaries of the Indian market. Hence, attention should be given to diversifying the product by adopting post harvest technology, according to Bhattarai. “The government must come up with a strategy to boost the confidence of the farmers,” said Bhattarai.

Published: 23-06-2018 08:45

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