The hundreds of local farmers in Jhapa district involved in black pepper plantation are concerned as their produces go unsold due to the dominance of imported black pepper in the local markets.
The commercial farming of black pepper is done in Arjundhara, Mechinagar and Buddha Shanti in the district and produced in abundance yet the produce is pushed out of market by the foreign imported black pepper.
Arjundhara Municipality’s Agriculture Division officer Shaliram Bhattarai shared that the district produced some 17 metric tonnes of black pepper in the last fiscal year.
It was sold for Rs 1,600 per kilo last year while it could hardly fetch him around Rs 400 this year, shared Dinbandhu Pokharel, a local farmer of Arjundhara-10 in the district. Pokharel produced a total of 600 kilos of black pepper this year.
He claimed that the price of locally produced black pepper was slacked due to the black pepper smuggled to Nepal from the third countries.
Similarly, Yogesh Niraula of Buddha Shanti Rular Municipality-7 in the district is also suffering similar fate. Niraula is forced to sell his produce at handout amount.
He opined that this locally produced spice would only find market and fair price if the smuggling of the same from the third countries is curbed.
A total of 96,800 kilos of black pepper was imported in the last fiscal year, according to the Mechi Customs Office, Kakadvitta.
Black pepper, considered to be the King of spices, is imported from India to Nepal that is brought to India from Indonesia and Sri Lanka, among other countries.
Police recently had confiscated over 500 kilos of black pepper being smuggled to India from Bhansa Khola at Mechinagar-6 in the district.