Due to increased export demand, large cardamom prices have rebounded

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In recent weeks, large cardamom prices have risen in to an increase in international interest in the spice as a result of a decrease in production in neighbouring India, according to Nepali traders.

According to local trader Om Bimali, the price of the spice touched a one-year high of Rs1,000 per kilogramme on Wednesday in the eastern economic hub of Birtamod.

In Nepal, large cardamom is primarily grown in the eastern highlands, with Birtamod, Jhapa serving as a major commercial hub for the region’s agricultural products.

The price of giant cardamom reached an high of Rs2,500 per kilogramme in 2014. Since then, prices have been progressively declining, reaching a low of Rs700 per kg in mid-July before stabilising.

Cardamom, especially large cardamom, is a high-value cash crop that provides the primary source of income for farmers in the slopes and hills of eastern Nepal.

Farm gate prices, according to shopkeepers in Phungling, the district seat of Taplejung, range from Rs625 to Rs725 per kilogramme of meat.

Sujit Bansal, a trader with Birtamod, stated that the price of huge cardamom has been shifting hourly. “Some dealers in Birtamod are even selling the spice for as much as Rs700 per kg,” says the reporter.

The impending festive season, according to Raj Kumar Karki, president of the Large Cardamom Traders Federation, has stoked expectations of a significant increase in price for the spice.

According to Karki, “Nepal’s massive cardamom crops are in high demand, particularly among significant dealers in Siliguri, a city in the Indian state of West Bengal.”

“Traders in Assam, India, are particularly interested in Nepal’s cardamom this year because their own supply has this year,” Karki explained.

Bansal stated that because Covid-19 limits were still in effect in India, prices could remain volatile despite growing demand, according to Bansal.

India is the most important client of Nepal’s vast cardamom crop, absorbing 99 percent of the country’s exports of the spice. The spice is re-exported to Pakistan and the Middle East, where it commands high rates due to the huge demand for Nepali products in those countries.

Pakistan is the world’s top buyer of large cardamom, accounting for about 60% of India’s total large cardamom exports in 2015. Traditionally, the cardamom pods used in biryani, a popular Pakistani dish, have been utilised as a sign of success and richness by the local Muslim population.

The Nepalese trader Karki stated that efforts were being made to transport huge cardamom to Bangladesh via the Kakarbhitta-Panitanki-Phulbari route, as well as through routes. The three locations are located in Nepal, India, and the border between India and Bangladesh, respectively.

With a distance of 44 kilometres, Nepal’s trade with and through Bangladesh is to reach the Bangladeshi border point of Banglabandha in the quickest time possible.

Many farmers in the eastern highlands have harvested their cardamom crops and are storing them at their homes in anticipation of higher prices in the future. The harvest season begins in the middle of July and concludes in the middle of November.

According to traders, farmers who require spending money for the upcoming Dashain and Tihar festivals sell their produce, while those who do not require a large sum of money store the spice until the price of the spice rises significantly.

Nepal produces approximately 5,000 tonnes of huge cardamom each year. India and Bhutan are the world’s leading producers of huge cardamom, with China accounting for 68 percent of global production, followed by India.

The spice is also grown in parts of the region, including Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Bhutan. In 1865, the large cardamom plant was brought into Ilam from Sikkim.

Trading companies ship their through the Indian city of New Delhi, where Nepali cardamom is in high demand in Pakistan and the Gulf countries.

The major cardamom-producing districts in Nepal are Ilam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Tehrathum, Bhojpur, and Dhankuta. Ilam is the country’s largest cardamom producer, followed by Taplejung and Sankhuwasabha.

Growing the spice has already spread to more than 40 areas across the country.

Nepal’s foreign exchange profits are significantly boosted by the export of large quantities of cardamom.

According to the Department of Customs, the country exported huge cardamom worth Rs7 billion in the last fiscal year that concluded in mid-July, representing a significant 74.7 percent increase year on year. Rs4 billion worth of shipments took place during the preceding financial year.

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