Agri Business

Pepper output likely to stay flat in 2017 due to erratic rains

GK Nair Kochi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 07, 2016


Several growing areas have experienced dry spells this year

Pepper production for 2016-17 is unlikely to show an upsurge as has been projected due to erratic weather conditions so far this year. A substantial increase in the next crop was anticipated earlier following the summer showers this year in some of the growing regions.

But, deficient South-West monsoon rain coupled with the dry spell in several areas has changed the scenario. On the one hand, full berry formation did not take place, while berries that formed were not bold, PV Eliyas, a farmer in Meenangadi (Wayanad) told BusinessLine.

According to him, the crop in Wayanad district — the second main growing region in Kerala — would remain between 2,000 and 2,500 tonnes.

Meanwhile, in Kerala’s main pepper growing district, Idukki, growers have different opinions. Growers in Peerumedu taluk and Rajakkad and Adimali region anticipated the next crop would remain at current levels. “It will neither be more nor be less,” said PA Thomas, a pepper and cardamom grower in Upputhara.

Farmers in Rajakumari, Nedumkandam, and Kumily said following the initial rains good flowering has taken place. But, absence of subsequent rains affected the pollination process and berry formation. Consequently, the number of berries in spikes is much less, they said.

Rain awaited

If the North-East monsoon arrived in 10 days, that would have a positive impact on the crop, raising the total output in the district by 25 per cent over the 2015-16 crop, Hemant Kishor, a Kochi-based dealer, told BusinessLine. He said that according to trade estimates after a survey in the district, the next crop in Idukki would be around 10,000 tonnes as against 8,000 tonnes in 2015-16.

However, making any realistic forecast about the pepper crop before October-November, especially given the erratic weather conditions, is difficult, Joshua Daniel, a major pepper grower in Pathanamthitta district, claimed. According to him, plantations that are well looked after may have a normal crop.

In Karnataka, too, the situation is said to be similar. According to Sunil, a grower in Sakhleshpur, the unfavourable weather conditions have impacted the vines and as a result “we will be getting the crop level we got in 2013-14.”

The trade has, however, estimated the Karnataka crop at around 22,000 tonnes. According to the trade, the total 2016-17 output might be around 50,000 tonnes.

Official projection for 2017 has put the production at 55,500 tonnes against 48,500 tonnes in 2016.

Domestic consumption has been shown as 51,500 tonnes against 50,000 tonnes in 2016.

Total domestic production in 2013-14 stood at 37,000 tonnes from 1,22,400 hectares whereas it increased to 70,000 tonnes from 1,28,780 ha in 2014-15 to fall sharply the next year.

The International Pepper Community (IPC) projection for 2017 has put the world output at 4,18,604 tonnes against 3,97,153 tonnes in 2016.

Published on October 07, 2016
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