Dhankuta, October 16
Cardamom farmers and traders from eastern hilly districts are adversely affected by heavy fall in prices of cardamom this year.
Cardamom farmer Bam Bahadur Limbu of Dhankuta’s Parewadin-3 looks worried as he has hard time paying wages to workers of his farm after the price of cardamom nosedived.
Hundreds of cardamom farmers in the district seem worried as they are having tough time running their families after cardamom price dropped by more than three times.
Farmers are disappointed as they have to sell black gold (cardamom) at Rs 30,000 per 40 kg. Earlier, they had sold cardamom up to Rs 120,000 per 40 kg. Limbu has cultivated cardamom in 12 ropani land. In the past, he used to earn more than Rs 3 lakh from cardamom farming. This year, however, he cannot even manage to earn Rs 80,000.
Tshering Sherpa, who came from Terhathum to sell 40 kg cardamom at Dhankuta’s Hilebazaar, lamented that he could not manage even Tihar expenses after selling cardamom. “I sold cardamom at Rs 1, 10,000 per 40 kg last year. But, this year, the same quantity hardly fetched Rs 30,000”, Sherpa shared.
Traders supply cardamom to India from cardamom collection centre at Hilebazaar in Dhankuta. Cardamom farmers are hit hard after traders refused to buy cardamom at good price.
Cardamom trader Bal Bahadur Rai said every cardamom trader had incurred loss of 2.5 million last year sudden and unexpected price drop.
Cardamom Entrepreneurs Federation Dhankuta Chapter Chair Indra Titung said cardamom price had seen sharp fall after substandard cardamom was found to have mixed with the cardamom that was exported to India via Kakarvitta border point.
According to Titung, not only farmers but also traders who had stored cardamom at Hile Bazaar had incurred heavy loss. Cardamom farmers say that lack of quarantine to test cardamom in the country and failure to give distinct identity of to the cardamom produced in Nepal caused sharp price fall.
Chair Titung said Indian traders were to be blamed for price fall as they mixed standard cardamom produced in Nepal with low quality cardamom.
With sharp price fall of cardamom, many farmers and traders had been storing cardamom for the past three years with hope of getting good price, said farmer Khagendra Adhikari of Pakhribash Municipality.
Data at District Agriculture Office, Dhankuta, show that the district had exported over 160 metric tonne of cardamom last year.
A version of this article appears in print on October 17, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.