Black cardamom farmers get frustrated as price recovery fails to last

Published On: April 7, 2019 07:53 AM NPT By: Khagendra Adhikari

TAPLEJUNG, April 7: The falling price of black cardamom has been frustrating for farmers and traders in the eastern part of the country. Though a brief price rise after a continuous fall for the past four months came as a respite for them, the recovery did not last more than a couple days. 

The price of black cardamom rose at the end of March before taking a dive again. The spice was traded at Rs 23,000 per 40 kg on March 28. 

Nirmal Bhattarai, the immediate past president of Black Cardamom Entrepreneurs Association, said that the high-value crop traded at the price of Rs 24,500 and Rs 25,000 per 40 kg in Birtamode of Jhapa, a trading hub in eastern region. 

The price rose up to Rs 27,000 per 40 kg on March 25 and March 26. The price had tumbled to Rs 21,000 just a few days earlier. A surge by Rs 6,000 made farmers and traders hopeful about the recovery of the high-value spice's price.

However, their happiness was short-lived as the recovery did not last, according to Dinesh Adhikari, a cardamom farmer in Taplejung -- a district known as the major producer of black cardamom. 

"Although we were hoping that a price rise will end the long slump, we are now frustrated again," said Adhikari. The trading of black cardamom had risen suddenly with the price rise, he said.
Balmani Baral, Taplejung district chairman of Black Cardamom Entrepreneurs' Association, said: "The momentum in the trading of the black cardamom in the market has started to fade with the slump in the price again." He added that business was bleak for black cardamom this year.
Khadga Bahadur Moktan, a black cardamom trader, said that many traders who had stored the produce with an expectation to get a better deal are fearing losses. 

Traders say that fixing the price of black cardamom is not up to Nepal. The major market for this high-value spice is third countries where the price is determined. While Nepal produces black cardamom, it has to depend on Indian traders to find the market in third countries. According to Nirmal Bhattarai, the price of the black cardamom depends on the demand and supply of the spice in Indian market. He said that the volatility in the price is also due to the mismatch between the supply and demand in the market. Nepali traders underline the need for maintaining the quality of Nepali produce to keep the demand from falling in the market.

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