KATHMANDU, May 13: In the absence of proper processing and storage facilities, ginger farmers in the country for a long time had been compelled to sell their produces at low prices, but this is changing soon.
The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) has confirmed that it is soon launching a special program targeting exclusively the ginger producers. Under the program, the government will set up ginger porcessing units in various ginger-producing districts and a storage facility in Jhapa.
Jhapa, Sunsari, Ilam and Morang are major ginger producing districts in the country.
"We have earmarked Rs 110 million for the purpose," said Toya Narayan Gyawali, joint secretary at MoCS. The ministry is launching the project with support from the World Trade Organization (WTO) under the bank´s Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) initiatives.
MoCS is the implementing agency for EIF, which is an initiative of WTO for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The government is launching the special program for ginger farmers mainly as EIF reckons ginger as a produce with huge export potential and by systematically supporting the farmers and developing the value chain, the country can tread on the path of sustainable export growth.
Nepal is the fourth largest producer of ginger in the world; however, it has grossly been failing to realize revenue accordingly through its trade.
Figures at the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) show that Nepal earned meager Rs 281.94 million from ginger export in fiscal year 2010/2011. Despite being high in demand, ginger exported during the year was 38.2 percent less than what was recorded in 2009/2010.
Nepali ginger is exported mainly to India, Japan, the USA, the UK and Germany, among others.
By supporting ginger producers, the government aims to give impetus to trade growth and help reduce poverty.
Gyawali disclosed that the farmers have already expressed their readiness to provide necessary land for developing infrastructure such as storage houses.
The project would be implemented jointly by the MoCS, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC), Ginger Producers´ Association (GPA) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), among others.
The program is being implemented as part of the assistance that MoCS received under tier II of EIF. Under tier I, MoCS has been implementing various capacity building programs.