With cardamom selling for Nu 700 to 750 a kilogram (kg), farmers say that this is one of the best prices they fetched in the last two years.
Although the recent price is a drop from Nu 840 a kg that the spice fetched about 11 days ago, exporters are optimistic that the price would increase.
An exporter, Singye Wangdi, said that the demand for the cash crop increased while the supply slacked and they expect the price to increase again. “Exporters have become desperate at the moment.”
He said that the price dropped this week, as more farmers are bringing in cardamom to meet their children’s education expenses.
“The price may go up to Nu 900 a kg,” he said. “There are people who always play in between and spoil the price.”
Singye Wangdi said cardamom price could increase in the next three to four days.
Cardamom price dropped to Nu 500 to Nu 540 a kg until October 2017. In September, it fetched Nu 600 to Nu 650 a kg.
In the last five years, farmers fetched Nu 2,000 a kg in late 2014 and early 2015, the highest price recorded.
An exporter, Rajesh Kumar Shah, said cardamom market is complicated.
He said there would be a huge difference in price when it decreases but it would only increase by Nu 10.
Rajesh Kumar Shah said Bhutanese cardamom is still preferred due to better quality. He also said that cardamom from Nepal and Darjeeling are defining factors in cardamom price.
“At the moment, cardamom from these areas fetched less compared to Bhutanese cardamom,” he said, explaining that this also impacted its price in Bhutan.
A manager with Bhutan Export Business Line (BEBL) in Phuentsholing, Ugyen Dorji, said that although the price has slightly increased, demand has not increased. “Our parties say there is not much demand.”
Today, BEBL has more than two tons of cardamom stocked at its warehouse.
Ugyen Dorji said BEBL was able to export more than 10 tonnes of cardamom in 2017. “Price will increase by May and June this year.”
BEBL is paying farmers Nu 750 for a kg of big cardamom. Small sized cardamoms fetch between Nu 690 to Nu 700.
Meanwhile, Bhutan exported cardamom worth more than USD 33 million (M) to Bangladesh from 2010 to 2015, according to records with Bhutan Exporters Association. In 2014, the country exported 610 metric tonnes of cardamom worth more than USD 10M to Bangladesh.
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing