Agri Business

Pepper production expected to decline on poor monsoon rain

GK Nair Kochi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 09, 2016

BL10-PEPPER

Even as pepper harvesting has started in several growing areas, the real picture of the crop size has begun to emerge. The output is likely to drop in 2016-17.

Failure of both the South-West and the North-East monsoons this year has badly hit the crop, bringing down output, contrary to earlier expectations, said growers in Kerala and Karnataka.

Weather woes

In many districts of Kerala, flowering has taken place in pepper vines following the first showers but the pollination process did not happen properly for want of rains.

In pepper, pollination takes place through rain water, Joshua Daniel, a grower in Pathanamthitta district, told BusinessLine.

He said the absence of rains and dry spells coupled with cold nights have decreased the number of berries in each spike. The situation is not different in the neighbouring Kottayam district.

Swami Garudadwajananda, Secretary of the Vazhoor Theerthapada Ashram, which has around four acres under the crop, said he was expecting a normal crop this season. But, failure of both the monsoons has shattered hopes bringing the total output down by 20 per cent, he said.

A similar situation prevails in the other major pepper growing districts of Idukki and Wayanad, growers in the region said.

Meanwhile, in some regions the next crop is expected to remain at last year’s levels. “It would neither be more nor less,” said PA Thomas, a pepper and cardamom grower in Upputhara. Traders and growers, who were projecting an increase of 25 per cent provided the Idukki district received a normal North-East monsoon, have reversed their assessment.

Karnataka also hit

The scenario in Karnataka is also somewhat similar following the failure of the monsoons. Sunil, a grower in Sakhleshpur, told BusinessLine the unfavourable weather conditions have affected vines and as a result “we will be getting a crop level we got in 2013-14.” The trade has, however, estimated the Karnataka crop at around 20,000 tonnes.

According to the trade, the total 2016-17 output might be somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 tonnes.

The official projection for 2017 has put production at 55,500 tonnes as against 48,500 tonnes in 2016.

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

The International Pepper Community’s projection for 2017 has put the global output at 4,18,604 tonnes against 3,97,153 tonnes in 2016.

Published on December 09, 2016
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