Kathmandu, July 10
Citing that women homebased workers take on a critical role in the production of large cardamom, a World Bank report has urged the need to invest in them to boost cardamom in Nepal.
The report titled ‘Understanding the role of women home-based workers in value chain of large cardamom and allo (Himalayan nettle) in Nepal’ further states that Nepali women take the lead in nurturing and harvesting the prized crop, before it travels through local markets and trading centres, from where it is exported to neighbouring India.
The study, undertaken in the eastern hills of Taplejung, also determines that large cardamom production is a critical source of livelihood generation for a majority of women homebased workers. “Support to women-based or women-oriented institutions in large cardamom will help build their capacity and ability to negotiate better in the global market place,” reads the report.
The report was launched during a ‘Multi-Stakeholder Consultation on South Asia’s Large Cardamom Value Chain Development Prospects’ hosted by the World Bank.
The consultation focused on women’s entrepreneurship in the large cardamom value chain in Nepal, India and Bhutan, and also explored such opportunities in Bangladesh.
“Nepal can provide a platform for the neighbouring countries growing this highly valued spice to enlarge the pie and seek new markets in South East Asia,” said Usha Jha, member at the National Planning Commission Large cardamom grows extensively in the hills of Nepal. In 2018, HomeNet South Asia — a network of home-based worker organisations in South Asia — led a World Bank study on the large cardamom value chain in Nepal, which concluded that the cash crop enjoys a lucrative market and incomes generated have made immense contributions to improving lives of women involved.
Since 2015, the price of the product — which is dependent on global market fluctuations — has seen a continuous decline. In Taplejung district, women home-based workers admitted that crop disease and lack of water resources have become sources of worry. Additionally, women home-based workers lack access to the market and feasible credit facilities.
“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,” said Faris H Hadad Zervos, country manager of World Bank for Nepal.
Women home-based workers are collectivising and exploring opportunities in entrepreneurship, the report states.
The World Bank consultation held today highlighted key recommendations made by the study to improve the value chain for all its actors, including women home-based workers. Nepal’s recently announced export strategy on large cardamom is a positive effort in the right direction.
“Introducing targeted interventions that build the capacity and skills of women home-based workers will go a long way in improving the value chain and the returns for all actors involved,” as per the report.
A version of this article appears in print on July 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.