Ginger price shoots up to unprecedented height

Govinda Chettri

Jhapa, June 3:

The sudden increase in the price of ginger has taken consumers, businessmen and even farmers by surprise. This is the first time that ginger price has escalated. Suraj Kumar Bimali, secretary of Ginger Farmers and Agriculture Production Bazaar (GFAPB) of Birtamod, said, "I have been into ginger farming for the last 20 years, but it had never been so expensive. On BS 2045, the price has gone up to Rs 50 per kilogram, but now it is Rs 80 to Rs 100 per kg in wholesale and Rs 100 to 120 in retail." He added that this price hike in ginger is seen all over the country. According to Bimali, the price of ginger in Kalimati Vegetable Bazaar in Kathmandu is Rs 100 per kg in wholesale, while it is Rs 120 per kg in retail. The unexpected price hike in ginger started from the last week of Chaitra. According to statistics made available by the GFAPB, the price of ginger in the month of Shrawan on fiscal year 2060-061 was Rs 20-30. It was Rs 15-30 in Bhadra, Rs 20-30 in Poush, Rs 25-30 in Magh and Falgun, Rs 28-75 in Chaitra. Similarly, per kilogram of ginger in Baisakh of BS 2061 was Rs 75-95, Rs 100-120 in Jestha. Last year, the price of ginger during this time was Rs 12 to Rs 26 in Baisakh, Rs 18 to Rs 25 in Jestha and Rs 20 to Rs 16 in Ashadh.

The major ginger producing districts in the country are Salyan and its surrounding areas in west and Ilam, Paanchthar and Jhapa in the east. But no statistics on total ginger production and consumption according to districts has been kept. Among the 33 agriculture production bazaars, only the bazaar at Birtamod of Jhapa has kept records on ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli, informed secretary Bimali. He added that a total of 1.11 million kilograms of ginger has reached the GFAPB this fiscal year until the month of Baisakh. 90 per cent of this supply has been from Ilam and Paanchthar while the rest 10 per cent came from Jhapa. Ninety per cent of the total ginger production in Ilam and Paanchthar is collected in Budhabare bazaar and then exported to India after grading in Dhulabari, Bimali said.

The agriculture development office in Jhapa said that it does not have any idea about the sudden price hike. According to Mina Bhujel, a businesswomen and farmer Tilak Bista, the price hike in ginger is not due to a sudden increase in ginger consumption or decrease in ginger production. They said that demand of ginger in India has increased for medicinal purposes and the price of ginger in India has also escalated. Bimali said that per kilogram of ginger in India costs IC Rs 60 to 65.