China’s aggressive and increased buying of Vietnam pepper has witnessed some upward trend in the international market, with the prices of the commodity reported to have touched $2,500 per tonne.

Per reports, China’s yearly buying has crossed more than 60,000 tonnes of pepper for value-addition and re-exports, which is above the procurement of the US. This has also influenced the prices of Indonesia ($2,200), Brazil ($2,100), Sri Lanka ($3,000) and Malaysia ($2,400) to some extent, said Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices.

Since Sri Lanka is heading towards harvesting, some pressure is likely to be built up for selling pepper in the international market, he said adding that the Indian government has not yet released this year’s import license under the Indo-Sri Lankan Free Trade Agreement under Minimum Import Price as seen in last year.

Quoting January to April figures, Shamji said that pepper imports continuing at about 1,700 tonnes average per month for extraction, re-export with positive value addition by export orient units.

However, the domestic pepper demand is picking up from almost all consuming centres. This is evident from the surge in prices in Kochi on Friday, which was up by ₹1 per kg, touching ₹308 for ungarbled. The offtake was 15 tonnes.

According to Shamji, the demand is expected to pick up in the coming days which would be fulfilled by increased arrivals, since farmers usually liquidate their stock during mid-May and early June to meet funds for educational expenses of their wards.

This trend may help Indian pepper farmers to get some better prices for their produce without a fear of glut in prices normally seen during June with arrivals picking up, he added.