Cardamom issue to be resolved as trade routes get approval

The inability of Bhutanese farmers and traders to export cardamom to India due to GST related issues will soon come to a close with India approving trade routes for their export said the Minister for Agriculture and Forests Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor.

He said, “We received a telephone call from the Embassy in New Delhi saying that we have received formal approval of trade routes which is a permanent solution for the export and trade of goods on its own.”

The minister said that the problem was not on the BAFRA certification not being recognized but on the issue of the four trade routes or exit point from Bhutan for the export of not only cardamom but other plant based exports not being included in the GST based ICEGATE computer system.

The crops include cardamom, apples, oranges and all other export crops from Bhutan but at the moment only cardamom is affected.

The minister said that the buy back plan of rates of up to Nu 550 a kilogram is only a temporary measure and not a good solution.

Lyonpo said that the dzongkhag agricultural officers in six dzongkhags are already assessing the cardamom that could not be exported and needs to be bought under the DNT’s pledge to buy excess production from farmers.

Lyonpo said that once the trade routes are declared farmers and traders can export cardamom on their own.

Lyonchhen (Dr) Lotay Tshering said that he is not sure why this issue was not looked at before from a longer term perspective as the current things being done are only like a ‘knee jerk reaction.’

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