ILAM, Jan 26: Bishnu Bohora, a ginger trader in Panchthar district, gets phone calls from farmers almost on a daily basis. “Our ginger is rotting on the farm. When can you come and take delivery?” they ask.
However, Bohora has no answer. He cannot promise them a date for picking up their ginger due to the current market situation. India has halted the import of Nepali ginger since the past month.
The southern neighbor is the only feasible external market for Nepali ginger. As a result of the halt to imports by India, Nepali ginger growers have suffered losses worth millions .
“We have managed to sell 12 truckloads of ginger so far this season. We still have over 25 truckloads remaining, and it is rotting for lack of markets,” said Bohora. Each truckload contains 14 metric tons of ginger.
According to him, he has been able to buy up ginger from only 60 families this season. Around 150 families who supply him the ginger are still waiting to sell.
“They ask me if they should dig up their ginger and I've been telling them not to do it since exports to India have stopped,” he said. “I have asked the Ginger Entrepreneurs Association about the situation but they also are confused.”
Mahendra Khadka of Kummayak Rural Municipality-5 grew 640 kg of ginger this season. Just as he had finished preparations to sell the crop, he learnt that the exports had stopped. “Most of my ginger will rot for lack of market. And none of the other farmers in the village has been able to sell their ginger either.”
Phidim, Sarangdanda, Bhulke, Simle, Yasok, Ranitar and other settlements in Panchthar district grow ginger and traders have been able to sell only one-third of the total supply so far.
India is the market for over 90 percent of Nepal's ginger production. The southern neighbor has been banning Nepali ginger time and again.