Despite a deficient South-West monsoon during June-July and August , cardamom production centres are now receiving good rains since September, which revived the hopes of farmers to continue harvest till January. The farming community pointed out that the sector has attained stability after passing through a distress phase in the last two years due to a price drop and subdued demand.
At the same time, landslides following rains in some areas of Nedumgandam damaged some agricultural land, hitting production.
PC Punnoose, general manager of KCPMC Ltd, Thekkady, said cardamom prices have reached ₹1,600 per kg from ₹970 recorded last year. The auction platform is also witnessing good arrivals with a daily average of 150 tonnes with hand-to-mouth buying.
However, he said low exports due to a host of factors are posing a concern for the industry with the premium grade of 7-8 mm capsule in the export market not fetching good prices. This is mainly because of the influx of Guatemalan cardamom which is not giving any space to Indian produce in the importing countries. Saudi Arabia is the biggest market for Indian cardamom, but Guatemala is selling its produce at much lower rates, thanks to the glut in production.
M Dhanavandan, an exporter based in Bodinayakanur, said the cardamom industry is currently facing a conundrum, with exports experiencing a sluggish pace attributed to a combination of factors. One primary challenge is the subdued demand in the international market, stemming from a discernible rise in prices at the beginning of the season.
Compounding this issue is the formidable competition from other cardamom-producing countries. During periods of elevated prices in India, competing nations stepped in to fulfil interim demands. This not only diluted India’s market share but also presented consumers with alternative sources, thereby affecting the overall export scenario, he said.
In the light of these challenges, stakeholders in the cardamom industry must consider innovative strategies to revitalise exports. Market diversification, exploring niche segments, or enhancing product value through quality improvements is potential avenues to mitigate the impact of price fluctuations and global competition, he added.