Car­damom traders up­set over low car­damom price

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Krishna Ghal­ley from Phuentshol­ing

Un­like in the past, the flat rate of car­damom all through, with­out a penny in­crease in months, has left many ex­porters de­jected. The cur­rent mar­ket price still re­mains low at Nu 480 per kilo­gram.

The ex­porters have wit­nessed a steady fall in the car­damom price in the last five years and they now doubt that there could be a syn­di­cate formed across the bor­der that con­trols the price of car­damom.

Many ex­porters said Bhutanese car­damom should be fetch­ing bet­ter price at this time of the sea­son. “But it has not crossed Nu 500 so far,” said an ex­porter.

Car­damom, un­like in the past, is mostly ex­ported to Bangladesh and some to In­dia.

“If there is no syn­di­cate, then the price should fluc­tu­ate in the mar­ket. And by this time, we should be fetch­ing at least Nu 1,000 per kilo­gram for our car­damom,” said Singye Wangdi of Singye Ex­port and Im­port.

“There are around five Bangladeshi traders in the town and they gel with those In­dian traders who also op­er­ate in the town. We sus­pect that they are con­trol­ling the price. Other­wise, it is im­pos­si­ble that price of a prod­uct re­main con­stant through­out the ex­port sea­son,” he added.

In Tendu and Nor­gay­gang gewogs in Samtse, the farm­ers quote at least Nu 575 per kilo­gram. Even in Da­gana and Tsirang, the rates are more or less the same. And at this back­drop, the lo­cal car­damom traders are left in dol­drums.

“I do not un­der­stand what to do. There is no point do­ing busi­ness if the sell­ing price is equal to buy­ing rate,” said Singye Wangdi.

He is also of an opin­ion that in­creas­ing num­ber of buy­ers from across the bor­der could have led to sud­den dwin­dling in the car­damom price.

“From some 10 car­damom buy­ers a few years ago, to­day there are around 40 of them in the mar­kets. And be­cause of ris­ing com­pe­ti­tion among them, many have re­sorted to de­cep­tive prac­tices that di­rectly af­fect our farm­ers and us,” said Singye.

He men­tioned that while some of them de­ceive the sellers in weigh­ing ma­chine, some could have started form­ing syn­di­cate.

Ac­cord­ing to an In­dian trader, the avail­abil­ity of the car­damom from mid­dle-east coun­tries in the In­dian and Bangladeshi mar­kets has been one fac­tor that de­ter­mines the price of Bhutanese car­damom.

“Bhutanese car­damoms are raw and that is why its rate is low. Bhutanese have to main­tain ex­port qual­ity prod­uct in or­der to fetch bet­ter price,” he said.

The pres­i­dent of Bhutan Ex­porters’ As­so­ci­a­tion, Dorji Tsh­er­ing, said the ex­porters could be sell­ing old stocks. “Prices are de­ter­mined by the mar­ket force and there­fore noth­ing much we can do. Our price is to­tally de­pen­dent on the yield in North-East In­dia,” said the pres­i­dent.

He added that it is high time that our traders ex­plore bet­ter mar­ket­ing strate­gies to com­pete in the mar­ket. “If we im­prove the whole pack­age of our prod­ucts, not just car­damom, I think our prod­ucts will nat­u­rally fetch good prices. If we see the de­mand of car­damom glob­ally, it is very good,” the pres­i­dent added.

Re­gard­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of syn­di­cate for­ma­tion, he said it is yet to be con­firmed.

Also, the pres­i­dent be­lieves that Anti Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion’s ac­tion in Phuentshol­ing has af­fected the mar­ket.

“If we are to go big about car­damom ex­port, then I think our gov­ern­ment should come up with ini­tia­tives to main­tain ex­port qual­ity,” said Dorji Tsh­er­ing.

Mean­while, the traders and the farm­ers are still look­ing for­ward to see the price soar.

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