Farmers rue poor returns

Taplejung, September 28:

Cardamom farmers in Taplejung district are a peeved lot as they haven’t been able to get good price for their crop. With Dashain around the corner, farmers said they were were forced to sell at low price to manage money for the festival.

“Last year, the sale price of 40 kg of cardamom was between Rs 10, 000 and Rs 12000. This year, we got Rs 8000 only,” they grumbled. The farmers had stored the cardamom for several months in the hope getting good price.

“I stored my cardamom crop for a year hoping to get a good price. However, I am forced to sell it at low price to manage money for Dasahin,” cardamom farmer Buddhiman Tamang said.

Cardamom — the main source of income for Taplejung locals — is grown in 49 of the district’s 50 VDCs in the district, locals said. Cardamom farmers complained that the decrease

in the price has had an adverse effect on their lifestyle and was creating problems in managing essential items.

“As there is no rise in the price of cardamom, we have to bear losses every year,” Ram Kumar Sanwa of Sawa VDC said, adding, “Cardamom farming requires prolonged hard work and workers have to be hired for working in the fields , but we are unable to generate enough

income to pay the workers’ wages.”

Fifty per cent of cardamom farmers here had stored last year’s cardamom in the hope of getting a good price. They said cardamom worth Rs 1 billion is produced in the district every year.

Santosh Khatiwada, chairman of Taplejung Chambers of Commerce and Industry said,

“Farmers don’t get reasonable price for their cardamom crop due to the absence of a price-determining mechanism and dependence on India for market.” Khatiwada also said that 70 per cent of the people in Taplejung are dependent on cardamom farming.