Commodities

Imported Sri Lankan pepper boosts demand

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on June 11, 2020 Published on June 11, 2020

The availability of imported Sri Lankan pepper in the consuming markets of Delhi and Mumbai seem to have perked up some demand from end-users.

Traders in these markets are reported to have covered Sri Lankan produce from Tamil Nadu dealers at ₹300 + GST+ freight and this sale confirms the arrival of more containers in the domestic market and are being traded after the first consignment of 167 tonnes, said Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices.

If such imports continue unabated at the cost of Indian farmer’s revenue, domestic growers will have to face a bleak future, he said.

The RBI and the Customs authorities have to play a major role as regulators since FEMA rules are grossly violated in such shipments. It is feared that the Customs authorities have not looked into the value of the imported pepper at which the duty is paid and the prices prevailing in the producing country (Sri Lanka) and the consuming country (India), which is a major factor to look into for such imports, he said.

Meanwhile, the prices of other origin pepper in Indonesia have moved up to $2,950, Brazil ($2,450) and Vietnam ($3,000-3,100) for shipment of Asta grade pepper. There were also reports that Sri Lankan importers are planning to approach their authorities for redress under bilateral agreements of SAFTA and ISFTA as well as the removal of MIP that would cater to the flow of Sri Lankan pepper.

As agreements are due for renewal, Shamji said the government should take a judicious decision by taking into account the past incidents of other origin pepper slipping into India via Sri Lanka with a due certification of their produce. Even Swaminathan Committee had warned the Indian government on the consequences of such imports.

Meanwhile, spot pepper prices in Kochi remained steady at ₹315 for ungarbled on an offtake of 33 tonnes.

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Published on June 11, 2020
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