Farmers worried as cardamom prices fall

Published On: November 8, 2017 08:02 AM NPT By: Daman Rai

KHOTANG, Nov 7 : Farmers of Khotang have been keeping cardamom stored in their houses since the last three years as they are not getting suitable price in the market. Though the production is increasing every year the market price of cardamom is going down, so farmers have chosen to store their product waiting for price to increase. 
Sangram Rai from Sakela Rural Municipality of Khotang has been storing cardamom since the past three years. “All the produced cardamom has been stored as the price of cardamom declined awfully,” said Sangram Rai, owner of Dandakharka Multipurpose Agricultural Farm. “We did not sell our last year’s product waiting for the price to increase.”  
Rai, who has been doing commercial farming of cardamom, produces 1,600 kg -1,800 kg cardamom every year. This year also his production has increased in comparison to previous years but he is not excited about it. Rather, he is worried for his stored cardamom as it is about to decay. Raghunanda Rai from the same rural municipality had handed over his 280 kg of cardamom to the contractor but he did not get any earning from it. 

“The cardamom that I sent might be stored somewhere in Itahari and Dharan as they could not get the market,” Raghunanda said. Decreasing price of cardamom in both national and international markets has worried the farmers. Most of the farmers have stored cardamom at their houses and some of them have put it up for sale in low price. Even the production of this fiscal year is certain to be stored because of low market price. 

According to farmers, the price of cardamom has been decreasing since the past three years. Raghunanda said that cardamoms dried on oven have less risk of decaying than those dried under the sun. Just four years ago, cardamom used to sell at Rs 100,000 for 40 kg. But now the price has declined to Rs 22,000 to Rs 26,000, according to Kaushal Kumar Yadav, horticulture officer of District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) Khotang. 

Farmers of the district have been supplying cardamom to Bhojpur, Dhankuta and Dharan. Farmers also have been supplying it to India via Birtamod of Jhapa. Two municipalities and eight rural municipalities in the district have the potential of producing cardamom. Currently cardamom farming is done in more than 34 wards of the district including Sundel, Phedi, Patheka, Khartamchha, Dipsung, Rakha, Bakachol, Baspani, Baksila, Yeselukharka, Nerpa, Dorpa, Mattim, Temma, Yamkha, Ratanchha, Bajhechyandanda, Khidima, Chisapani, and Badkadiyale. A single rural municipality has been selling cardamom worth millions. Since cardamom farming gives more return on less investment, farmers have been attracted toward cardamom farming since the last decade. 
Though the price and supply have decreased, the production of cardamom has increased by 20 percent in this fiscal year. 

“Due to the suitable environment and less risk of diseases, production of cardamom has increased this year,” said Yadav.

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