Gangtok (Sikkim): India produces about 4200 tons of cardamom annually, and with its agro-forestry system, Sikkim contributes 86 percent of cardamom of the nation.
Large cardamom is an ancient spice-cum-medicinal herb used by northeastern people.
Its cultivation is mainly confined to eastern Himalayas covering Sikkim, Darjeeling in West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh.
People of Lingchom and Geyzing in West Sikkim mainly cultivate large cardamom which is considered one of the most important spices in Sikkim. It is also the main source of income for the state.
Hari Lal Gurung, a farmer, said, “Cardamom is cultivated in abundance in the state of Sikkim which is provided by the nursery. We have been using the organic method of farming with the help of the nursery.”
Ramsey, Golsey, Varlanegy and Sawney are some of the varieties of large cardamom which are found in the region.
Large cardamom is cultivated mainly in shaded areas and requires moist soil.
In organic farming, cardamom farmers mostly use dried cow dung as fertilizers.
Purna Bir Subba, another farmer, said, “From the very beginning, I was never interested in taking up a government job. I am doing what I love to do which is farming and by doing this farming, I’ve been looking after my family.”
Cultivating cardamom has been a traditional practice and a way to earn livelihood for the people of Sikkim.
Youngsters in Sikkim are gradually taking up cardamom farming and yearn for better results. (ANI)