Nepal should increase the production of ginger to become the topmost ginger producing country from its current status of being the fourth largest producer, according to experts.
It is not only production that has to be increased to become the world’s number one or second producer, but market intelligence also has to be increased to explore the international market, said deputy director of Department of Agriculture Iswor Prasad Risal at a workshop organised here by the National Spices Crop Programme and Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) along with other agriculture departments.
"There are a few programmes for market promotion of ginger and other agricultural commodities but it is not sufficient," he said, adding that Post Harvest Directorate will also build capacities to improve the quality of ginger to make it more competitive in the international market. "Ginger alliance has a big role to play and should also work in verifying and authenticating database, besides coordination and fund management."
Nepal is the world’s fourth largest producer of ginger after India, China and Indonesia but organised value chain development will help it become the topmost producer, participants said.
Agricultural diversification and commercialisation have drawn the attention of planners and policy makers in terms of generating more income, employment opportunities, and biodiversity conservation, according to them. "However, cultivation of high-value low-volume fruits and vegetables like ginger and concentration on production, processing and marketing will help in the sustainable development of the sector."
Ginger — one of the 19 products and services in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2010 — farming is one of the main sources of cash income for the small farmers of the hills and could help reduce poverty.
India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Thailand are currently the main producers of ginger, which is one of the most important cash crops grown in the mid hill marginal and sub marginal lands. "It can contribute in raising the socio economic status of rural farmers and also help in earning foreign currency coupled with decreasing environment degradation," they added.
However, India is the only major foreign market for Nepali ginger at present.
"Research and development on production, processing and marketing with more efforts, commitments and investment will help Nepal position itself in the global ginger exporting countries map," said participants, adding that lack of transportation is one of the bottlenecks for the expansion of ginger export market as 12 districts share more than half of the total area and production, as production pockets of ginger.
Country— Production (tonnes)
India — 420,0002
China — 285,0003
Japan — 42,0008
Thailand — 34,0009
Philippines — 28,00010
Sri Lanka— 8,270
World — 1,387,445
(Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation, 2009)