Farmers in Bhojpur frustrated with low market price of cardamom
April 20, 2019 08:44 AM NPT
By: Akson Rai
A cardamom farm is seen in Sadananda Municipality, Bhojpur.
BHOJPUR, April 20: Farmers in Bhojpur are frustrated with a free fall in the price of their high value cash crop – cardamom – by 80 percent.
With the price fall, the produce is now available at Rs 22,000 per unit of 40 kilograms. The price had once soared up to Rs 110,000 per unit of 40 kilograms.
Farmers say the fall in prices has directly affected their living standards.
Prem Kumar Rai of Jimigaun in Bhojpur Municipality had sold 40 kg cardamom at the price of Rs 110,000 some time ago, which prompted him to switch fully to cardamom farming from paddy in his farmland of 8 ropanis.
He had dreamed to earn handsomely, but now he sits frustrated in his house. “We are frustrated with this low price. To make it worse, no buyers came to our village,” said Rai, who had to carry his produce to the market looking for buyer. The cardamom price had already dropped to Rs 35,000 per 40 kg then.
Excited with the high price of cardamom, Durja Rai of the same village had damaged his paddy farm of 19 ropanis and started cardamom farming. But now, he is struggling even to pay the minimum wage to his laborers working in the field.
However, amid this gloomy market scenario, some farmers are still hopeful that their produce will fetch good price. But their hopes are not strong enough.
“With the fall in cardamom prices, I am thinking to destroy my cardamom plants and switch back to paddy,” said Dipchandra Rai, a farmer of Temkemaiyung Rural Municipality.
The district has produced 200 tons of cardamom this year, according to Bhojpur-based Agriculture Knowledge Center, an entity that oversees agriculture in the districts. The production was 192 tons last year.
Information Officer of the center, Yukmani Bhattarai, said that proper grading and branding of the products was needed to sell it at higher price.
“Farmers who expected the price to improve have already faced several hurdles,” said Nabin Pradhan of Cardamom Entrepreneurs’ Federation. “Now if the situation does not improve, they would be compelled to bear further losses.”
As many as 98 farmer groups are involved in cardamom farming through cardamom zone program in the district. The program provides technical support to the farmers, and has an annual budget of
Rs 4.9 million for the purpose.