Pepper farmers ask Spices Board to curb illegal Sri Lankan imports

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on June 09, 2020

Pepper farmers have approached the Spices Board to take steps in curbing illegal imports from Sri Lanka by flouting the MIP (minimum import price) rules.

Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices pointed out that pepper imports contracted for the domestic market under SAFTA was reported last week with the arrival of 167 tonnes.

However, the total imports in May touched 1,521 tonnes, while the total figures in January-May stood at 8,200 tonnes.

Of this, Shamji said 345 tonnes were procured by domestic users; 2,600 tonnes for re-exports and 5,250 tonnes by extractors. More imports are likely from Sri Lanka under SAFTA at 8 per cent import duty and at ₹500 MIP. The Lankan pepper price is now at ₹225 vis-a-vis ₹325/kg in India and importing the commodity at ₹500 MIP by paying 8 per cent duty comes to around ₹540/kg. Hence, pepper sales at ₹325 is a surprise, Shamji said, alleging flouting of MIP norms as stipulated by the government.

Meanwhile, spot pepper prices in Kochi remained steady at ₹315 on Tuesday, amidst strong demand from end-users. Though the Delhi market is still under the grip of a lockdown, it is actually serving the requirements of Haryana, Punjab, some areas of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and even up to Madhya Pradesh.

The closure of Delhi markets and limited working hours have created a vacuum in the domestic market consumption, he said.

Published on June 09, 2020

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