Expensive, precious and rare: Cardamom “Queen of Spices”. Beside saffron and vanilla, cardamom is one of the most expensive spices. Only few countries produce it. Guatemala (approx. 30.000 to), India. Tansania is said to produce only 5.000 mt. Europe has a annual need of 2.000 mt
„Our Men are Lazy! „
She lives at the base of the Mountains. Therefore she liked to take advantage of our bus, to go to the top of the mountains.
Quickly we struck up a conversation with her: she was the head of a women’s cooperation, consisting of 25 farmers wives. Four years ago, the women planted Cardamom on a Banana Plantation.
And now they took advantage of additional income. Only women? What are men doing? Esteria smiles.
Cardamom is a curious plant: it needs shadow and grow quickly as a bush in the forest.
Cardamom capsules and blossoms grow at the same time on an “aerial root”. therefore Cardamom can harvested several times a year. After harvesting cardamom is either dried in the sun (getting grey) or dried in the shadow (where it remains green). Nice.
Esteria invites us to come with her in a school.
Here Kindorokyo Group/Cooperative has lent a small warehouse. The women can meet here their middleman – and hold other meeting comfortably. Like today. Because we can use an old class-room.
Harvest is in Mai and in August – depending on the weather conditions. Meanwhile more than 5.000 kg Cardamom is harvested in one year. The women mainly sell their harvest to local dealers, who transport the spice to Tanga. From this harbor city in the east of Tansania, many containers of coffee go to Kenia.
If the women had been in the position to increase their output, to dry the capsules in the shadow and to presort Cardamom before selling, they surely would get a better salary.
The women listened attentively. They answered with a nod and learn easily. Once you have the feeling it is of interest for them, it really makes fun to talk to them.
Unfortunately quantities are far too low for us. But we have hopes for the future, that Kindorokyo Group will grow and one day they will be independed from the local middlemen. Their time will come ! Who knows, perhaps prices will be higher than. And then even the man will be interested to work !