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Ginger politics

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Cartoon by : Subhas Rai

From the Nepali Press

Sudeep Shrestha in Setopati, 5 September

Citing the ‘maximum use of pesticides’ India has banned ginger export from Nepal just a week before Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is scheduled to visit New Delhi. This can’t be a coincidence because India has repeatedly created trouble in bilateral trade in the past whenever a high-level visit is planned from Nepal to India.

In the past week, a large amount of ginger is rotting in godowns and farmers in Illam, Panchthar, Taplejung including others in eastern region are facing financial crisis. Nepal is the third largest producer of ginger in the world after China and India. All ginger produced in Nepal are exported to India after meeting domestic demand, and 20.83 million kg of ginger was exported into the Indian market in the last fiscal year.

Nepal’s ginger is considered to be of higher quality and Indian agriculture experts have continuously lauded it. But what could be the reason behind the ban in ginger export few days prior to Prime Minsiter Dahal’s visit to India?

India has been creating obstacles on export of Nepali products whenever the volume shows an increase, and always before a high level visit possibly as a bargaining chip.

When Nepali Pashmina exports boomed in the Western and Indian markets in the 1990s, India increased 16 per cent additional charges just two weeks before Nepal-India inter-governmental committee meeting was scheduled. The meeting is considered important even today to resolve bilateral economic disputes between the two countries. Nepal was planning to raise problems related to pharmaceutical exports at that time.

Petroleum is another product in which India has leverage. India imposed hefty taxes, going against petroleum import agreement, on petroleum products when former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was scheduled to visit India in 2004.

Review of 1953 Extradition Treaty, Upper Karnali, and Budi Gandhi and Raxaul-Amalekhgunj pipeline agreements were conditions put forward by India while Nepal was planning to raise the issue of transit access to Bangladesh.

Dahal is leaving for India in a week and easy ginger export will be his top priority now, not the other issues that Nepal was planning to raise. The government’s silence on pesticide contamination has legitimised the Indian ban.

There is nothing new in the ginger ban, India is doing what it has always done: mix trade with politics.

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3 Responses to “Ginger politics”

  1. Sarku Subba on Says:

    Why don’t the successive Govts. in Nepal don’t learn from the bitter experiences of one sided international Trade or for that matter India leaning policies? Diversification is the magic word and also the call of the day! Despite bitter experiences in the past or in the near past this concentration towards the south is totally not understandable! The south leaning Civil Servants must get their Pension or transferred to remote areas if need be, only then will the small steps taken can lead to a fruitful result in diversifying our relations and trade!

  2. anonymous on Says:

    Trade IS politics. All the wars are a division of the world for my gas my petrol my dollar. The problem is that Nepal has been too long a victim on all sides. So India even wants to present a bill for a helicopter offered by Modi at Saar. I never really heard the end of that story maybe different Departments? India is very specific about what they need and want and the anti India mood is not at all helpful to sell things over there….
    I do not know who is to blame most for the past war, but the results are dreadful. Several generations have been lost at least professionally. Just now there are so many dreadful wars going on that one can not be a victim, and must opt for survival.
    I suppose Nepal needs an Apology for sending guns during the maoist conflict and more. While India sees that the beggar has to beg. And behave like a slave inspire of grandeur in the Constitution. On top of that Modi has a fake degree from Delhi University. So that kind of crock will save the ginger trade.

  3. namah on Says:

    time to dry it, crush it and sell it to supermarkets around the world. let india mix politics and trade, we need to mix trade and technology. any takers?

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