The Spices Board has removed the ceiling of 65 tonnes put on cardamom pooling in the e-auctions by registered auctioneers. At the same time, it has decided to restrict the pooling of cardamom by dealers to 25 tonnes per auction so as to curb re-pooling.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting with stakeholders following the directives of the Kerala High Court after some licensed dealers approached the court against the ceiling imposed for cardamom pooling in the auctions.

A cap on cardamom arrivals has been a long pending demand of the farming community to arrest the price drop. The Board introduced the cap on arrivals in February for an initial period of four weeks.

Arrivals increase

Stakeholders at the meeting were unanimous in bringing suitable measures to reduce the re-pooling of cardamom and to regulate auctions. It was also decided that the Board should explore developing and introducing a transparent online pooling system and make it a part of the existing cloud-based auction system, Spices Board officials said.

With the easing of restrictions, trading sources said arrivals in the auctions have gone up in the range of between 70 and 80 tonnes. The average price realisation is hovering at  ₹900 per kg and ₹1,300 for 8 mm premium grades.

PC Punnoose, CEO, the auctioneers CPMC Ltd, Thekkady said the market is still on a lower note with a subdued domestic demand in the upcountry markets. There is sufficient inventory in primary trade centres and wholesale markets. The Covid impact has resulted in general dullness and reduced consumption in many North Indian markets.

Since the prices of the commodity have already touched rock-bottom, traders expect that the opening up of the economy after relaxations in pandemic restrictions is expected to revive the market shortly.

SB Prabhakar, a cardamom planter in Idukki, said the warming up of temperatures has led to an uptick in cardamom consumption and a further increase is expected in the coming months with the advent of Ramadan, especially for premium grades.

‘Expect buoyancy in prices’

Pickings at origin of productions have virtually ended. Spring showers have been delayed and any further delay to the end of March will lead to the crop being delayed into the new season.

“We can expect some buoyancy in prices, but stock held with growers remains a point of concern for any sharp increase in prices. Also, growers’ input costs have gone up sharply in the last year coupled with labour wages. Growers require an average price of at least ₹1,200 per kg to sustain the operations,” he said.

C Sadasivasubramaniam, Secretary, Kerala Cardamom Growers Union, pointed out that the restrictions on offered quantities in the auctions have helped to regain the prices and witnessed a declining trend. Cardamom farming community is passing through a critical phase in the absence of summer showers in the growing regions and shortage of water is likely to have an impact on production this year.