Cardamom prices continue to fall

Despite the government having had decided to buyback unsold cardamoms from the farmers, the price of this spice which was Nu 500 per kg for two days has plummeted again.

The price now ranges from Nu 450 to 500 per kg in the market. Accordingly, the Bhutanese traders are dismayed by the dropping prices, which they say plummet by about Nu 10 each day.

Further, as no specific dates have been set by the government to buyback the cardamoms, the clueless farmers are compelled to sell at whatever money they can get immediately from the traders. Given the urgency and need, farmers are ready to sell even at lower rates.

According to a trader in Phuentsholing, Singye Wangdi, the current cardamom price in New Delhi in India and Karachi in Pakistan is Nu 1,000 per kg. However, the cardamom is of high quality, while the current price in Bangladesh is Nu 560 per kg.

Meanwhile, some traders are also allegedly accusing the Indian businessmen operating in Phuentsholing for playing around with the cardamom prices. These businessmen fix the price according to the market supply. The price has reached to Nu 500 this week, which lasted only for two days. It decreased down to Nu 450 again. These businessmen deliberately fix the rate low and farmers in villages thus face the loss.

Meanwhile, the government also promised to buyback cardamoms from farmers at Nu 550 per kg last month. However, the price which the traders expected to increase has not happened yet. Farmers are now waiting for the government to take back the unsold cardamoms and hoping it happens soon.

With numerous occasions like weddings, annual rimdros and shopping for students, these farmers have no option than to sell their products to the traders.

“We are delighted with the news. But it would be best if this happens immediately,” Chiwog Tshogpa, Amber Dhoj Rai from Logchina said.  “Without cash in hand, most of these farmers depend on cardamom sale for their major expenses. Also most of the farmers pay their loan installment from the earnings they make from cardamom sale.

Meanwhile, there are still 3,400kg of unsold cardamom in the market.

“The price is very welcoming if they buy. But the government needs to act on time,” Tula Ram Mongar, a farmer said.

With farmers increasingly wanting cash payments, some farmers are skeptical that it won’t be much of a help to them if the government takes time to make payment for the products bought from them.

“We take loans from others assuring payment after sale and if we don’t get cash immediately we will have problem in paying interests,” Mongal Singh Rai from Chongeykha said. He recently sold 500kg of cardamom at Nu 510 per kg. He still has 400kg which he plans to sell it to the government for better price. 

Chhukha Dzongkhag Agriculture Officer Sahabir Rai said the data on farmers and the total cardamom have been compiled and submitted to the ministry recently and they are waiting for directives.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing