Covid clusters in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, etc has hit demand for pepper especially in many upcountry regions ahead of Bakrid festival.

Most of the North Indian markets are supposed to be very active, but the demand was down by 50 per cent, said traders. However, they are expecting a revival in demand from next week with the festival season in North India starting from Raksha Bandhan.

Meanwhile, pepper prices remained steady in Kochi on Thursday at ₹309/kg for ungarbled on an offtake of 19 tonnes. Heavy rains and landslides in the High Ranges have restricted arrivals of the spice to the market. Moreover, the lockdown in West Kochi has hit the operations of many processing units, said Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices.

Per the reports from primary market dealers in Idukki, he said Sri Lankan pepper imported via Thoothukudi Port is finding its entry in the State on anticipation of an upward movement in prices. They are reported to be trading in the price range of ₹315-325 after importing at MIP.

IPSTA Kochi pepper rate (₹/kg): MG1-329; UNG-309; 500 G/L-299.