India produces about 4200 tons of cardamom annually; the northeastern state of Sikkim contributes 86 percent of cardamom of the nation facilitated by its favorable agro-forestry system.
Large cardamom is an ancient spice-cum-medicinal herb used by northeastern people. The spice is cultivated in areas such as eastern Himalayas covering Sikkim, Darjeeling in West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh.
People of Lingchom and Geyzing in West Sikkim are involved in the extensive cultivation of large cardamom, which is considered as one of the most important spices and cash crop in Sikkim..
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.
The cardamom farmers pursue organic farming, and mostly use dried cow dung as fertilizers. 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.