January 13, 2015

Building a Ginger Export Industry: Nepal Aims for World Markets

Nepal is the world’s 3th largest ginger producer (behind India and China), a little-known fact even among global ginger traders, because virtually all its ginger trade is with only one country – its neighbor India. Nepal’s production in 2013 of 235,000 MT of ginger was 12% of the world’s total – and 65% of this was exported, uncleaned and unprocessed, directly over the southern border to India, where is then cleaned and sold at a higher price.

At the same time, ginger demand in major markets like Dubai and EU is growing, and yet Nepal is unable to participate, as it has almost no export-ready cleaned and processed ginger products.

(Above) The current Nepal export industry is virtually all for India. Ginger farmers, primarily women, carry bags of ginger many miles from their villages to the ginger traders in town. Ginger hands are large, but uncleaned. The raw ginger is then weighed and packed, as is, for export to India.

Nevertheless, a few pioneering Nepal ginger traders have successfully begun exporting small amounts of dried ginger to competitive markets – Japan and the EU – and ginger has been identified by Nepal’s government as a high potential export crop. There is interest in supporting the Nepalese industry to grow its capacity to process ginger (dried or fresh) for export to top ginger markets, including Japan, Dubai and the EU.

This capacity development will need to include expanding processing facilities, strengthening quality control systems and developing the international business skills of traders and exporters.

Promar has been working with Nepal, through the UK’s DIFD-supported program SAMARTH, to understand the requirements and attitudes in these key export markets, in order to aid in the planning and development of a ginger export strategy for Nepal.

Issues we have been looking at include:

  • Ÿ   What ginger products are in demand overseas: fresh, dried, powder, oil?
  • Ÿ   Who are the competitors in the EU, Japan and Dubai markets and what are their strengths?
  • Ÿ   What are the expectations and requirements for new suppliers?
  • Ÿ   What investments and preparations are a priority for Nepal’s ginger industry?

Promar Consulting has worked on export development projects in emerging economies around the world including Thai citrus export, Tanzanian coffee export. For more information please contact us.