The Eastern Himalayas straddle three South Asian nations, Nepal, India, and Bhutan, which also happen to be the main producers of large cardamom, a specialty spice that enjoys wide appeal across South Asia and the Middle East.
Recently, large cardamom has captured newer ground, making headway in European markets and the United States.
To boost cross-country collaboration, the World Bank and HomeNet South Asia gathered government representatives, experts, and producers last July in Nepal.
Decades-long exchanges across the Himalayan countries have established strong connections, but trade remains mostly unorganized.
Participants recognized that producer countries face common challenges and agreed that greater regional collaboration could help solve problems more efficiently and pave the way for a unique branding for Himalayan large cardamom.
because, despite its distinct properties and flavor, it is often confused with lesser varieties.
Earlier in the decade, when prices of large cardamom peaked, it was reportedly often mixed with cheaper, wild varieties of the spice from China and Vietnam.
This drove down the price of large cardamom in already volatile international markets.
In turn, lower price tags threaten actors across the value chain, especially women home-based workers who are at the bottom of the pyramid.
in a study conducted in Taplejung, Nepal.
In Bhutan and India too, crop disease is now a norm, and farmers are left to grapple with the problem on their own.
Joint government initiatives in tackling crop disease along with varietal research can help improve the quality of cardamom and give producers an edge in competitive markets.
Establishing a strong and well-recognized Himalayan cardamom brand can help those most vulnerable secure their livelihoods.
What producers also need is more market research analysis to assess demand for large cardamom and associated products.
Initiatives to help women improve the quality of their products, ensure they have access to credit and markets, and can find opportunities for decent livelihoods can help usher in a new era for the Himalayan brand of large cardamom.