Horti secy raises concern over declining cardamom rates

NEW DELHI, Jan 16: Arunachal Horticulture Secretary Bidol Tayeng raised concern over the decline in the rate of cardamom in the domestic market from Rs 1400 per kg to Rs 350 per kg in recent years.
During the second meeting of the NITI Aayog’s Himalayan States Regional Council (HSRC) here on Thursday, Tayeng said the decline in the rate of cardamom in the domestic market has “compelled many farmers to go back to traditional shifting cultivation and even opium cultivation.”
“People had earlier given up opium cultivation because of better returns from cardamom. However, the decline in rate of cardamom has compelled some of the former opium growing farmers to go back to illegal opium cultivation. This is a matter of concern for all of us,” he said, and also informed the NITI Aayog that “the state government is assessing the reasons for the fluctuation of rate of cardamoms in the domestic markets.”
Tayeng presented horticulture and spice crops as “the only viable and alternate source to stop practices of shifting cultivation and illegal opium cultivation in the state.”
Informing that people in several districts of the state have taken up large-scale cardamom cultivation and Arunachal has emerged as the second largest producer of large cardamom in the country, Tayeng said this has helped people to “stop cutting down trees and give up shifting cultivation.”
Informing the NITI Aayog that Arunachal is the highest producer of kiwi fruit in the country, he said the state is planning to increase its growth and production threefold in the next 10 years.
At present, Arunachal produces 10,000 mts of kiwi, while the country imports another 30,000 mts of kiwi from New Zealand, Chile, Iraq, etc.
The state has suitable climate, soil and vast land for increasing kiwi production, and it can capture the national market of 30,000 mts being imported presently.
“This will not only help increase the income of the farmers but also save foreign exchanges for the nation,” Tayeng said.
The meeting was chaired by HSRC Chairman VK Saraswati.