Voicing concern over the diversion of EOU-imported pepper into the domestic market, the pepper farming community has urged the government to strictly monitor such shipments, which are imported for re-export.

According to Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices, there are reports on the availability of bolder berries of 5 mm Vietnam pepper (domestically called 12 nos and 13 nos) imported for re-export by EOUs and marketed in Bihar, Jharkhand, Delhi, and Mumbai, at the cost of Wayanad and Karnataka farmers, which is a cause of great concern for the farming community.

As international pepper prices are showing a firm trend, the farming community expressed anxiety over the arrival of greater quantities of Sri Lankan pepper under SAFTA at an MIP of ₹500 per kg. After payment of interest duty at 8 per cent, the landed cost of pepper works out to ₹540 plus ₹10 expenditure. But importers have been offering the commodity at ₹300 per kg for a full container load and small lots at ₹320 in the consuming markets. The government should implement the MIP restrictions strictly to safeguard Indian pepper farmers, he said.

Meanwhile, prices in Kochi remained steady at ₹315 on an offtake of 32 tonnes, of which a good quantity was purchased by export-associated companies. There was further buying in the market, especially of Idukki high-range pepper at ₹320, Wayanad pepper at ₹315, and pepper from the plains at ₹310.