Laxmi Capital News
India blocks Nepali ginger

The 'friendly' neighbor in the south has onceagain imposed an obstruction on Nepal's export of agricultural produce intotheir country, this time blocking entry of trucks carrying Nepali ginger. 

After being stranded at Kakarbhitta check-pointin Jhapa district for two weeks, five dozen trucks loaded with ginger wereforced to turn back. Indian customs refused to provide them entry permits.

This recent action has evoked memories of theunofficial Indian blockade imposed on Nepal in 2015 when the country wasstruggling to recover from the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The quakeskilled about 9,000 people, injured 22,000  and rendered millionshomeless. 

The economic embargo almost completely cut offthe import of daily essentials, including oils, foods and medicines, items forwhich the landlocked country relies heavily on India. The embargo created asevere humanitarian crisis and crippled Nepal's economy.

A total of 60 trucks each loaded with 16 tons ofginger had reached Mechi Customs Office more than a week ago. However, theIndian customs on the other side refused to grant them entry, citing 'aninstruction from higher authority'. The affected traders said they had no choicebut to turn back.

“We took the matter up to the ministerial leveltime and again. But we could not export the ginger,” informed Narendra Khadka,chairman of Nepal Ginger Producers and Entrepreneurs Association. “After allour attempts failed, we saw no option but to turn the stranded trucks back.”

Criticizing  India for blocking Nepaliginger without any reason, Khadka further said that this has greatly harmedginger growers and exporters alike. 

“The last time they stopped our ginger, theyaccused us of mixing it with Chinese ginger. This time, they have citedinstructions from the Lucknow commissioner. Such actions are against the tradetreaty,” he added.

 India was already importing only limitedquantities of Nepali ginger. With this recent development, all imports of thecountry's ginger by India has come to an abrupt halt, entrepreneurs said. 

Ginger entrepreneur Krishna Paudel said herecalled all his four truckloads of ginger after the cost of leaving themstranded at the customs increased day by day. Other entrepreneurs cited thesame reason for their own decisions to pull back. 

India has been obstructing the import of Nepaliginger since the past three years. They have routinely obstructed the import inthe peak season, causing the product to decay in the trucks before it couldreach the markets. This has caused millions of rupees in losses toentrepreneurs and farmers. 

According to the ginger association, Nepal hasmanaged to export around 800 truckloads of ginger to India while about 2,500truckloads are yet to get through. As each truckload is worth about Rs 600,000;the losses will be massive if the issue is not resolved soon. 

The association has urged the prime ministers ofboth countries to take the initiation to resolve matters. “If the issue is notresolved soon, it could result in a loss of billions,” said Khadka.

Source: My Republica, 23rd January 2018

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