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Harnessing the comparative advantages of large black cardamom

Exploring possibilities to establish geographical indication and common regional standards

Organized by: Kanchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD); G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment (NIHE), Sikkim Regional Centre; Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan; Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology, Tribhuvan University


Download flyer Agenda List of participants

A niche cardamom product

Large black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) is an important cash crop for the economies of all three countries in the Kangchenjunga Landscape – Bhutan, India, and Nepal. Cardamom cultivation is very suited to the landscape’s conditions, yet the three countries struggle to compete in a global market increasingly dominated by other cardamom species. Large black cardamom is facing increased competition from white (Amomum krervanh) and green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) produced in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. It is also facing competition from large black and red cardamom species (Amomum costatumand A. tsao-ko) grown in China and Vietnam.
With such demand and competitiveness in the cardamom market, Bhutan, India, and Nepal are uniquely positioned to capitalize on large black cardamom, a species that originated in the landscape. Large black cardamom can be marketed as a niche Himalayan product through a geographical indication (GI) certificate, which can help distinguish large black cardamom from other cardamom species and establish a brand. The three countries can also collectively inform customers about product attributes by setting up common regional standards and creating a distinct product identity. (Currently, with the common harmonized systematic code for all varieties of cardamom, it is difficult to trace the flow of large black cardamom in the global market.)

About the webinar

Against this backdrop, ICIMOD through its Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KLCDI) organized a regional workshop in Taplejung, Nepal, to explore opportunities for transboundary collaboration on large black cardamom value chain. Building on the recommendations of the regional workshop, ICIMOD together with its partners is organizing this webinar to discuss the possibility of creating a GI certificate and developing common regional standards for large black cardamom. The webinar will serve as a platform to bring relevant stakeholders on board with the approach and to strengthen the network among stakeholders of the three landscape countries.


The main objective of the webinar is to identify action points and modalities to promote large black cardamom as a unique product from the Kangchenjunga Landscape in the international market. The specific objectives include the following:

  • Develop a common understanding on issues in large black cardamom value chains
  • Discuss possible opportunities for creating regional quality standards and GI for large black cardamom
  • Identify a way forward and a step-wise process for better positioning large black cardamom as unique product
Target audience
  • Representatives from government departments/ministries (agriculture, trade, and industry)
  • Representatives from the private sector (cardamom entrepreneurs, exporters)
  • Representatives from cooperatives, spice boards, and development organizations
  • ICIMOD and its KLCDI partners

Tashi Dorji, Programme Coordinator, KLCDI, ICIMOD


09:45–11:45 Indian Standard Time; 10:00–12:00 Nepal Standard Time; 10:15–12:15 Bhutan Time

Time (Nepal) Programme
10:00–10:25 Welcome address and context of the webinar (5 min) –Nakul Chettri, Regional Programme Manager, Transboundary Landscapes, ICIMOD

Opening remarks (5 min each)

  • Kinley Tshering, Director, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan
  • Laxman Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture, Sikkim University, Gangtok, India
  • Yogendra Kumar Karki, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Nepal

Opening address (5 min) – Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD

10.25-10.45 Status of and issues in large black cardamom and possible ways to distinguish it from green, white, and other species – Surendra Joshi, Senior Resilient Livelihoods Specialist, ICIMOD
10.45-11.05 Opportunities and challenges for creating common regional standards and GI – Indu Bikram Joshi, Deputy Director General, Department of Environment, Nepal; former Director, South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO)
11.10-11.40 Moderated panel session – Possible next steps for harnessing opportunity
Moderator: Nakul Chettri, ICIMOD

  • Kinley Tshering, Director, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan
  • Hari B KC, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Nepal
  • Shri. Bhim Lal Dahal, Additional Director, Horticulture & Cash Crops Department, Govt. of Sikkim, India
  • Rajesh Joshi, Regional Head, GB-NIHE, Sikkim Regional Centre, Sikkim, India
11.40-11.50 Presentation of draft policy brief on cardamom: Policy pointers/constraints and issues
–Surendra Joshi, Senior Resilient Livelihoods Specialist, ICIMOD
11.50-12.00 Key takeaways, KLCDI possible role and conclusion – Tashi Dorji, Programme Coordinator, KLCDI, ICIMOD
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