Nepali ginger traders are exploring the Japanese market to export fresh ginger in a bid to boost exports.
They plan to send the first shipment of fresh ginger to Japan during the next harvesting season that begins in two-three months. Traders have been exporting dried ginger to Japan for some time.
Narendra Kumar Khadka, president of the Nepal Ginger Producers and Traders Association (NGPTA), said they had sent specimens of fresh ginger to potential buyers in Japan.
According to him, importers want the spicy root to prepare sushi, a popular Japanese dish. As per traders, Japanese traders now import fresh ginger mostly from China. “The importers said that Nepali ginger was of higher quality than that from China,” Khadka said.
Nepali traders have been shipping fresh ginger mainly to India while they export dried ginger to Japan, Europe and South Korea. They began looking for new markets after facing hurdles a number of times last year while exporting their products to India. Traders have been exploring markets for fresh ginger in Italy and other European countries.
Khadka said they had been working to diversify their markets with support from Unnati, a programme funded by the Danish Government. “With the programme’s support, we are even planning to prepare sushi in Nepal to export to Japan,” Khadka added.
Globally, Nepal is the third largest ginger producer after China and India. India is the main export market for Nepali ginger. Almost 94 percent of the shipments to India consist of fresh ginger and the rest are processed ginger.
According to the Nepal Ginger Profile 2016, which was produced jointly by 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.
Ginger is grown on more than 23,826 hectares across the country. As per the Ministry of Agriculture, Nepal produced 242,546 tonnes of ginger in 2016. Recently, the Indian government removed Nepali ginger from the list of restricted items. According to the NGPTA, traders started exporting their products to Bangladesh too from last year.
The Nepal Trade Integration Strategy has identified ginger as one of the top nine exportable items.
The Trade and Export Promotion Centre’s record shows that earnings from ginger exports surged almost threefold to Rs680.53 million in the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2017-18.