Pepper being used as smokescreen to smuggle cardamom, allege traders

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on January 07, 2020 Published on January 07, 2020

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Pepper traders in Kochi allege that black pepper is being used as a smokescreen to smuggle cardamom, with the latter’s prices ruling higher.

This is evident from the reported sales of pepper by growers in Idukki to Tamil Nadu-based dealers at ₹340 per kg when the prices in Kochi market have remained steady at ₹329 in the past two days, said Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices. Since cardamom prices are on the higher side, at above ₹3,000 per kg, and pepper prices are at ₹300, there is a tax difference which would be a gain to smugglers, prompting their involvement in such deals.

On account of the nation-wide labour strike by trade unions on Wednesday, there could be skeleton staff at border check posts and this would make things easy for these people, he claimed. Moreover, the availability of imported pepper has started coming out. The other day, 19 tonnes of imported pepper was traded. Most of the consuming markets, including Patna, Ranchi, Kolkata, Indore and Rajasthan, are getting stock imported through Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar borders, which needs immediate attention of the government to curb it, he added.

IPSTA Cochin pepper rate: The prices of all varieties remain unchanged. MG1: ₹349; Ungarbled: ₹329; New Pepper: ₹314. The traded quantity was 15 tonnes. Trade analysts Acumen Capital Market says the February futures price remains flat at ₹354 when last traded on Tuesday.

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Published on January 07, 2020
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