July 11: Home-based women workers play a critical role in the production of large cardamom, says a World Bank study released on Tuesday.
The report entitled “Understanding the Role of Women Home-Based Workers in Value Chains of Large Cardamom and Allo in Nepal” also states that women take the lead in nurturing and harvesting the prized crop, before it goes in the local markets and trading centers, from where it is exported to neighboring India.
The study, conducted in the eastern hills of Taplejung, also states that large cardamom production is a critical source of livelihood generation for a majority of home-based workers, especially women. The study says that supporting women-based or women-oriented institutions in large cardamom farming will help build their capacity and ability to negotiate better in the global market.
“Nepal can provide a platform for the neighboring countries - Bhutan and India (Sikkim) – to grow this highly valued spice to enlarge the pie and seek new markets in South East Asia, while propagating this eastern Himalayan region as a spice corridor,” a statement issued by the World Bank quotes Usha Jha, member of the National Planning Commission as saying.
Large Cardamom, a Himalayan spice, grows extensively in the hills of Nepal – the world’s leading producer, according to the World Bank. Bhutan and India follow Nepal in production.
A study conducted in 2018 concluded that the cash crop enjoys a lucrative market and incomes generated have made immense contributions to improving the lives of women involved.
However, since 2015, the price of the product – which is dependent on global market fluctuations - has seen a continuous decline.
In Nepal’s Taplejung district, women home-based workers admitted that crop disease and lack of water resources have become sources of worry. Additionally, home-based women workers lack access to the market and feasible credit facilities.
Faris H Hadad Zervos, country manager of World Bank for Nepal, said, “Putting in place a system of gender-disaggregated and gender-specific data collection; introducing women-friendly technology and tools for production and processing; and supporting women’s institution building for skill enhancement and marketing will go a long way in ensuring effective and appropriate returns to investment in the cardamom industry.”