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Nepali ginger good for global market: Report

Kathmandu, September 3, 2016: 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, a recent study said.

According to Nepal Ginger Profile 2016, which was produced jointly by UK Aid-funded Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme and the Nepal Ginger Producers and Traders Association, the spice has a huge overseas trading potential if substantial improvements can be made in yield, quality and volume by investing more on research and development.

Even without a substantial improvement in quality, small trading hubs in India will continue to be major markets for local ginger, said the research report submitted to the Ministry of Agricultural Development recently.

Among the 20 ginger producing districts sampled and the essential oil content of 30 cultivars tested and analysed, it was found that the essential oil content varied from 0.9 to 2.2 percent volume/weight.

Out of the 30 cultivars, 19 cultivars had more than 1.5 percent volume/weight oil content, which is above the international spice standard.

“It was found that these 19 cultivars meet international standards for essential oil content, and could easily compete in the international market,” states the report.

It said that ginger grown in Harre of Surkhet, Phidim of Panchthar, Letang of Morang and Mainaghat of Nawalparasi was high in oil. The four districts produce 31,504 tonnes of ginger between them annually.

Essential oil determines the flavour and aroma of ginger. It is an important property of ginger in international trade, mainly in the food and beverages industries, the report said.

Likewise, the oleoresin content in 30 ginger cultivars ranged from 2.57 to 6.21 percent volume/weight. It indicated that these two cultivars are good enough to compete in the international spice market. The cultivars were from Harre of Surkhet and Ashigram of Dadeldhura, and their combined annual output is approximately 8,661 tonnes.

Oleoresin determines the pungent flavour in ginger and contains extensive antioxidant properties. Oleoresin is a popular condiment that is used by the food and pharmaceutical industries.

According to the research findings, the market demand for oleoresin is increasing in food and beverage industries around the globe. In 2014, the global oleoresin market was valued at $1.15 billion, with India accounting for 50 percent of the overall production, the report said.

At present, Indian companies supply 60 percent of the oleoresin sold in the global market. “This gives Nepal an advantage of supplying ginger to India as they can claim premium prices for ginger with high oleoresin,” the report states.

Globally, Nepal is the third largest ginger producer after China and India. In 2012-13, Nepal’s total ginger production reached 235,000 tonnes, out of which about 60 percent was exported. India is the main export market for Nepali ginger. The southern neighbour buys close to 94 percent of Nepal’s fresh ginger and 6 percent of processed ginger.

However, Nepal’s competitiveness in other countries has been extremely low over the years due to lack of information about the product’s physical and biochemical properties, the report said.