Nepal entered into a new era after ending 10 years of civil war through signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government and the rebel radical Maoist party in November, 2006. Women’s positions were constitutionally secured and space widened for the engagement of women in the broad social, political and economic spheres. Therefore, the post-conflict context provided tremendous opportunities for women to engage in high value commercial agricultural business. The main objectives of the study were a) to examine the effects of armed conflict on agricultural markets, and b) to analyse the state of women’s engagement in high value agricultural exports and its role in market revival. This study involved qualitative research to analyse women’s engagement in commercial agriculture with a specific focus on the marketing of large cardamom (Amomum Subulatum Roxb.), which does not include the small cardamom (Elettaria Cardamomum, Maton). The main finding of this study is the proactive engagement of women in high value, low volume commercial agriculture and its positive contribution to the social, economic and political spheres at individual, households and community levels in Nepal. Women were recognised more in society once they engaged in commercial agriculture especially when they were members of cooperatives and in the position of sanctioning the loans as members of the executive committee to local people (including men). They were also offered political positions in the party structures. They were, comparatively, economically stronger and independent. However, while the government’s efforts were appreciated they were not able to secure better prices for the cash crops and tackle the disease problem. Women were not able to secure a better price in the study area due to lack of up-to-date market price information. Further, in the past 7-10 years their cardamom plants suffered heavily from disease (appearance of black spots on leaves, shrinking, and gradually drying of the leaves which people locally called Chhirke-Furke) affecting production.

Author Biography

Bishnu Raj Upreti is Executive Director of a Kathmandu-based think tank called Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research (NCCR) and Senior Researcher.

Mrs. Yamuna Ghale is PhD student at Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur Chitwan, Nepal.

Mrs. Sony KC is PhD student of School of Arts of Kathmandu University and Research Associate at NCCR.