The decision of Sri Lankan authorities to ban import of black pepper has not brought any cheer to Indian growers.

The growers pointed out that such a ban was already in place for more than 10 months and now an official gazette notification has come into effect with the new government in the island nation taking over.

Indian growers are up in arms over the import of Vietnam pepper through Sri Lanka and there was some temporary respite in such trade transactions following the continued protest by the Consortium of Indian Pepper Growers and their repeated follow-up with the Centre.

However, such import consignments are still reaching several Indian destinations by all illegal means especially by road through the borders of Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, said Kishore Shamji of the Kochi based Kishor Spices.

He termed the gazette notification “an eyewash by the present government” in the island nation to satisfy India. Sri Lankan authorities may re-start issuing certificates to Vietnam pepper when Vietnam’s new harvest season starts in March and if the prices drop further. The Sri Lankan harvest is on and they want to market their own pepper, he said.

As per the government statistics tabled in the Parliament, India’s black pepper import was estimated at 10,990 tonnes from April to August. The country imported 20,265 tonnes of black pepper in 2016-17 and 29,650 tones in 2017-18. The provisional figure stood at 24,950 tonnes for 2018-19.

Meanwhile, primary market dealers have started making enquiries from processors in the terminal market to procure pepper to meet the surging demand from Tamil Nadu.

This resulted in prices moving up by ₹1 per kg in Kochi to ₹334 on Tuesday.