Kathmandu, 11 Sep, 2016.
Even as the Indian customs office allowed trucks loaded with Nepali ginger to enter its territory on Friday, it is not certain whether the move heralds a permanent end to the ban placed on entry of the Nepali spice to India.
On Friday, 16 trucks containing Nepali ginger entered India through the Kakadbhitta-Panitanki border point. Indra Budhathoki, general secretary of Nepal Ginger Producers and Traders Association (NGPTA), claimed Indian customs officials informed him that the trucks were allowed to pass through the border, as the ban on the entry of Nepali ginger had been lifted by India.
But neither Nepali nor Indian government officials could confirm whether the ban had been permanently lifted. Nepali officials, who were following developments on the matter, could not be contacted on Saturday. An Indian government official, who did not want to be named, on the other hand, acknowledged Friday’s entry of Nepali ginger to India, but could not confirm whether the move marked an end to the ban.
Indian customs had prevented Nepali ginger from entering its territory 13 days ago after the Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority said Nepali agro products were laced with pesticide called Aldicarb. Indian authorities also said the ban was imposed to counter growing infiltration of Chinese ginger in Nepal, which were then finding their way to India.
Following the incident, the government had also formed a seven-member taskforce to prepare a detailed report on the problems encountered in ginger exports and make appropriate recommendations for their resolution. India is the major market for Nepali ginger. Almost 94 percent of the shipments to India consist of fresh ginger and the rest are processed ginger.
Ginger is grown on more than 23,826 hectares across the country. As per the statistics of the Ministry of Agricultural Development, the country produced 242,546 tonnes of ginger last fiscal year, 60 percent of which was exported. Globally, Nepal is the third largest ginger producer after China and India.
According to Nepal Ginger Profile 2016, which was produced jointly by the UK Aid-funded Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme and the NGPTA, the ginger grown in Nepal is high in oil and oleoresin, and it can be sold to large industrial buyers in India and other countries if output is increased and quality is ensured.