KATHMANDU, JAN 28 - Nepal has become the world’s third largest producer of ginger after India and China, according to the statistics of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The country produced 216,289 tonnes of ginger in 2011 compared to the global output of 2.02 million tonnes.
Based on the average market price of Rs 62.29 per kg in 2010-11 at the Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market, Nepal’s ginger output was worth Rs 13.47 billion. Officials said that farmers only get Rs. 25-30 per kg out of this while the rest is gobbled up by middlemen.
Ginger production increased marginally by 2.6 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. However, output has jumped 146 percent in the last decade. In 2002, ginger production was recorded at 87,909 tonnes.
Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture Development said that the export value of ginger had encouraged farmers to go for commercial farming. “Demand for ginger has been increasing due to its growing export value,” said Prabhakar Pathak, spokesperson at the ministry.
Increased use of ginger by the Ayurveda pharmaceutical industry in India and Nepal and high potential for product diversification to make jam, jelly, candy and sauce has made ginger one of the export potential products. As Nepali ginger has not been able to get better prices due to soil content and dirty look, Pathak said that the FAO had planned to help farmers by installing a ginger processing plant in Kakkarbhitta on the eastern border. According to government officials, India buys 98 percent of Nepal’s total ginger exports. Nepal enjoys free access to the Indian market. The US, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Japan and Spain are among the largest consumers of ginger. “If the processing plant is set up, it will add value to farmers’ products.”
Meanwhile, the land under ginger farming has increased to 19,081 hectares in 2011 from 18,041 hectares in 2010. In 2002, ginger was grown on 9,189 hectares. However, productivity has declined marginally in 2011.
According to FAO stats, ginger yield dropped to 11.33 kg per hectare in 2011 from 11.68 kg per hectare in 2010. In 2002, yield was 9.56 kg per hectare. Agriculture Ministry officials said that the reason behind Nepal’s low productivity was lack of hybrid seeds, technology and fertilizers.
Ilam is the top producer among two dozen ginger producing districts. According to the ministry’s statistics, Ilam grew 44,310 tonnes of ginger in fiscal 2010-11, followed by Salyan with 23,500 tonnes, Nawalparasi 12,255 tonnes and Palpa 12,226 tonnes. The Eastern Region was the largest producer of ginger among the five development regions with 79,361 tonnes.
Ginger is one of the farm products identified by Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2010 as having export potential.
According to a study, the per kg cost of ginger production is Rs 18. It is also highly labour incentive compared to other sectors.
The price of ginger varies with the seasons. During the off season from May to July, the price peaks while it drops to the year’s lowest during the main harvesting season which occurs from November to January.
Posted on: 2013-01-29 09:25