From the Co-ordinator’s Desk

Large cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.) is a major exportable crop of Nepal.  Nepal is the first largest producer of large cardamom with 52% share, followed by India  (37%) and Bhutan (11%). Nearly 90 percent of the large cardamom grown in Nepal is exported to India. From India, the spice is re-exported to Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Gulf countries and other overseas destinations. In Nepal annual production of large cardamom is around 5000 – 6000 Metric Tons.  The average cardamom production is 25-40 kg/ropani. It has been reported that its potential productivity can be raised as high as 800 kg/ha (NTIS, 2010). Nepal shipped large cardamom worth Rs3.3 billion during the period mid-July to mid-February, up from Rs2.2 billion year-on-year (ekantipur, march 28, 2018). Currently, large cardamom cultivation has expanded to 46 districts of the country, with the acreage totalling 14875 hectares and annual production exceeding 6000 tonnes, according to the Ministry of Commerce (ekantipur, march 28, 2018). Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam and Sankhuwasabha are the major cardamom producing districts producing over 80% of the total national production. Among these Taplejung is the largest large cardamom producing district having 4500 hectares are under large cardamom plantation producing over 2400 tonnes . Sankhuwasabha is another major large cardamom cultivated district where 3228 ha of area is cultivated with the annual production of 949 Mt.ton (MoAC 2010) which accounts for around 18 % of the national production. It is currently  grown in the districts mainly in Ilam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Dhankuta, Terahthum Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur districts. It is climate sensitive crop as it strictly requires cool, moist soil, humid under shaded area. It is cultivated in an altitude range of 600 m and 2000 m above sea level where annual rainfall is between 1500 to 2500 mm and the temperature varies from 8° C to 20° C.  Economic yield starts from 3rd years onward after planting and its optimal yield period is 8-10 years. The total life span of Cardamom plants is about 20-25 years. There are sixteen varieties of Cardamom in the world. Among them five types of Large Cardamom are in farming practices across Nepal-Ramsey, Golsey, Sawney, Chibesey and Dammersey. The Varlange, Jirmale and Salakpure are also grown by farmers in Nepal. The current average market price of large cardamom has gone up to Rs1000 per kg. Large cardamom prices have hit a new record of Rs 2500 per kg due to rising demand amid slowed production, said the Large Cardamom Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal. Fine graded cardamom currently costs Rs 2400 per kg in the market, and the price is climbing.

Tea (Camellia sinsnsis) is an important industrial crop in the eastern Nepal. Nepal has a long history of Tea cultivation, initiated with the establishment of Ilam Tea Estate in the Hills of Ilam District in 1863. In 1965 a second Tea plantation, Soktim Tea Estate was set up in the terai of Jhapa district. Nepal produces approximately 16.29 million kilograms of tea per annum on an area of 16718 hectares. It accounts for only 0.4% of the total world tea output. The main tea producing regions in Nepal are Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Dhankuta, Terhathum with newly involved regions being Kaski, Dolakha, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Bhojpur, Solukhumbu and Nuwakot, with a goal of increasing the total tea production in Nepal. Nepal’s teas are mainly exported to India, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, France, Poland the Netherlands, Japan, Belgium and the United States of America. Nepal’s teas fall into two types of tea: Orthodox tea and Crush, tear, curl  (CTC) tea. The CTC tea is a method of processing Assam variety (Camellia sinensis var. assamica), which grows in the lower-altitude, warm and humid plains of Nepal, primarily in Jhapa district. It accounts for almost 95% of the domestic consumption, owing to its lower cost of production compared with orthodox tea.In Nepal, orthodox tea is produced and processed in the mountainous regions of Nepal at an altitude ranging from 3000 – 7000 feet above the sea level. There are six major districts, primarily in the eastern regions of Nepal that are known for producing quality orthodox tea, which are  Panchthar,    Dhankuta Terhathum, Sindhulpalchok and Kaski. Orthodox tea is a profitable crop that is unique to hillside farmers.The production of these above two crops contributes to the food and nutritional security, employment generation and livelihood improvement of the Nepalese people.


Jiban Shrestha