December 1: The market of black cardamom has expanded after the cardamom produced in Nepal received Halal certificate and received permit to export the produce to the Gulf countries. Previously, Nepali cardamom was exported to Indian and Pakistani only. However, the new achievement could not delight the producers and exporters much as the price of cardamom took a nosedive. This year, the production increased by 30 percent compared to last year while the price went downhill.
According to the Federation of Black Cardamom Entrepreneurs of Nepal, the price of 40 kg of JJ No 1 quality cardamom decreased by Rs 21,000 to Rs 27,000 this year, from last year’s price of Rs 48,000. Similarly, the price of 40 kg of SD No 2 quality cardamom was Rs 47,000 last year, which dropped to Rs 26,000. The price of common cardamom use (No 3 cardamom) dropped from Rs 46,000 to Rs 25,000 per 40 kg.
Gulf countries, including Qatar, give organic registration to food products produced according to their country's standards. According to the same standards, Nepal received the Halal certificate to export cardamom to those countries from this year. With this certificate, the businessmen were expecting the price of Nepalese cardamom to increase. However, this year there has been a big drop in prices.
Although the final data of production is yet to come, the federation estimates that cardamom production this year increased by about 30 percent compared to last year. In the last fiscal year, 5,200 metric tons of cardamom was produced in Nepal. President of the federation Nirmal Bhattarai said that the increase in cardamom production is the main reason for such a large decline in prices.
At the end of last year, the farmers kept a stock of cardamom after the price of decreased nominally. Now the same 'stocked' cardamom is being sold. New cardamom is also produced more this year. He said that the production of cardamom has also increased in India, the main market of Nepali cardamom. As a result, the price has been affected.
According to President Bhattarai, despite the opening of doors for exports to Gulf countries, there is a problem in exporting the produce due to Nepal's landlocked nature. Even if Nepal exports cardamom, it takes a long time to reach the destination countries.
Rajan Pariyar, Senior Crop Development Officer of the National Center for Potato, Vegetable and Spice Crops says that one of the reasons why Nepali cardamom cannot get a good price is that its consumption in the domestic market is very low. Nepal has to use India's land for international trade and India creates obstacles under various pretexts, so there is a big problem in the export of potential goods.
Among the spice crops produced in Nepal, ginger ranks first in terms of production and area, while cardamom ranks last. According to the government’s data, cardamom is cultivated on about 1,700 hectares of land in Nepal.