Launch of 'Wah! Alaichi' Campaign: Enhancing the usage of Nepali cardamom

Sustainable agriculture
The 'Wah Alaichi' campaign was officially launched in a press conference organized on 29 July. The campaign is initiated by the Federation of Large Cardamom Entrepreneurs of Nepal (FLCEN) in collaboration with the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Province 1 and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in coordination with Sahaj project and Enssure (Enhanced Skills for Sustainable and Rewarding Employment).

The campaign focuses on raising awareness and increasing the use and consumption of Nepali large cardamom among domestic and commercial consumers. The campaign aims to not only enhance the traditional value of Nepali large cardamom and its usage in Nepali dishes as an important ingredient but also to increase the economic advantage.

Ingredients for traditional Nepal dishes

Cooking competitions to enhance culinary skills

Chef Santosh Shah as its brand ambassador, the ‘Wah! Alaichi’ campaign will also curate special recipes to promote Nepali large cardamom in the domestic market. As part of phase 1 of the campaign, cooking competitions for aspiring apprentices and Chefs were organized in Sauraha, Biratnagar, and Kathmandu to enhance their culinary skills and use Nepali large cardamom innovatively. The competition was held in three rounds in these three districts. The two winners from each round competed in the finale held in Kathmandu. The winners were announced on 29 July and their winning dish was served at the Swiss National Day Celebration at the Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal.

Chef Santosh Shah launching the campaign
Participants during the cooking competition

Large cardamom as main source of income

In the second phase of the campaign, Sahaj will lead the publication and launch of the recipe book, documentary, and PSA which will be carried out along with other promotional events.

Nepal is the largest producer of large cardamom globally with a 55 per cent share of the global market and the main source of income for farmers in Eastern Nepal. However, the domestic use of Nepali large cardamom has not increased, rather it is being substituted by green cardamom which is 100 per cent imported from countries like Guatemala and India. In 2021, the import of green cardamom was 564 metric tons whereas the consumption of Nepali large cardamom in the domestic market was less than 100 tons.  Similarly, Nepali consumers are also paying a higher price for green cardamom which is currently retailed between NPR 400 - 500 for 100 grams compared to Nepali large cardamom which is retailed between NPR 100-150 for 100 grams.

Special recipes to promote Nepali large cardamom have been chosen for the competition

Large Cardamom is one of the priority sectors of The Nepal Agricultural Market Development Programme (NAMDP) Phase II, also known as Sahaj. The project operates under a bilateral agreement between the Government of Nepal and the Government of Switzerland.

Sahaj is a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project, implemented by a consortium of Swisscontact (as the lead agency) and the Center for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development (CEAPRED). Sahaj provides financial and technical support towards improved access to services and innovation for agri-businesses in Province Number 1. This will increase demand for smallholders’ produce, including them in value-added supply chains, and build resilience in rural communities through higher employment and income.

Sustainable agriculture
Sahaj - Nepal Agricultural Market Development Programme
In 2017, agriculture contributed around 27.04 per cent to Nepal's GDP. Agriculture is a major source of livelihood in the country. However, the agriculture sector is still in a nascent stage as far as technology and modern cultivation methods are concerned. Agriculture mainly engages smallholder farmers who continue to use traditional methods of...