Ginger producers, traders no longer face quarantine problems

Kathmandu, May 21

Traders and producers of ginger in eastern Nepal, who often used to face quarantine-related hassles while exporting their products to neighbouring India and third countries, no longer have to face these problems. Through the Ginger Competitiveness Project, the government has supported them with ginger washing facility as well as provided training on good agricultural practices and distributed quality seeds.

The Ginger Competitiveness Project, run by the Ministry of Commerce with support of the Enhanced Integrated Framework — the only aid for trade mechanism of World Trade Organisation for least developed countries — aims to enhance the capacity of local producers and traders in production and export of ginger.

The project has established ginger-washing facility in Jhapa of eastern Nepal, which has helped traders get rid of the quarantine-related hassles while exporting their products. The project, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), was recently handed over to the producers and traders association after the completion of the project deadline.

Now producers and traders of ginger in eastern Nepal will be responsible for operating the ginger washing plant and implement good agriculture practices. They will also be involved in distribution of quality seeds. With these steps in place, they have been fetching better price from ginger export which has benefited both producers and traders in Morang, Jhapa and Ilam, the pocket areas for ginger production.

In Nepal, such activities hardly continue after the completion of the project, but the Nepal Ginger Producers and Traders Association (NGPTA) has successfully taken the responsibility to expand ginger production and for value addition of the products. NGPTA has allocated certain fund for the maintenance of the washing facility, pest control activities, distribution of quality seeds, and proper monitoring of good agricultural practices, among others.

Along with the completion of the project deadline, the private sector has taken the lead for all the systems to continue the income-generating activity. The monitoring committee, however, comprise of representatives from the government as well as private sector.

As the Ministry of Agricultural Development was the focal point for the implementation of the ginger project, the joint secretary from the ministry and representative from Agro Enterprise Centre of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) are in the monitoring committee.

The NGPTA, along with expansion of the production area, has been preparing to install another washing plant in the near future, according to the association.

Ginger is one of the products that was incorporated in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2010 — the export strategy of the government — which identified products and services that have niche market advantage, also known as comparative and competitive advantage. Earlier, ginger was being exported at a low price when it was exported without being washed. The Ginger Competitiveness Project has supported in transforming the whole process from production to export.