Car­damom prices con­tinue to fall

Business Bhutan - - Business - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley from Phuentshol­ing

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.

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