Low prices leave ginger growers unhappy

The government’s ginger buy-back scheme has helped the farmers across the country market their produce amid the pandemic. But the farmers are not happy about the rate. The price for ginger fell by Nu 10 per kilogram in the last two years.

The highest the ginger growers fetch for their harvest since the pandemic is Nu 30 per kilogram. This has discouraged the farmers from pursuing ginger farming.

Some of the villagers in Gomdar Gewog have decided not to sell the produce this year in hope of a better price next season. Some have decided not to cultivate ginger altogether.

“Before the pandemic, the buyers used to come to the village and pay us Nu 30 to 35 per kilogram. Now, due to the pandemic, we are not able to fetch a good price. So, we have not harvested yet,” said tshering Wangdi, a farmer in Gomdar Gewog.

“I have not harvested ginger yet thinking that price may increase. We used to earn Nu 30 to 40. But now, the price is not good. I am hoping that we will be able to fetch a better price when the pandemic situation gets better,” said Samten, another farmer.

“Before the pandemic, Indian traders used to come here and take our ginger at a good price. We also used to produce more. But now, amid the pandemic, it is not going well as FCB is the lone buyer. Nonetheless, we are grateful to the FCB,” said Sonam Zangpo, a farmer.

An official from the Food Corporation of Bhutan in Samdrup Jongkhar said the price has decreased as ginger production is very high in India for the past few years. According to the official, a kilogram of ginger fetches only around Nu 5 to 7 in India.

The FCB in Samdrup Jongkhar exported more than 1,200 metric tons or about 120 truckloads of ginger to India last year.

The agriculture ministry facilitated the ginger buy-back scheme in collaboration with the Food Corporation of Bhutan in 2021 to address the marketing issue amid the pandemic.

Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar

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