Pepper prices turn spicy hot on tight supplies

Sajeev Kumar | | Updated on: Dec 07, 2021
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Farmers, dealers hold back produce expecting higher price

Pepper prices have surged to a record ₹532 a kg leading to farmers and dealers in the primary markets holding back their produce, hoping for a further rise in prices. As a result of this, the spices availability has been affected in the physical market.

Traders cited unfavourable climate in Kerala and Karnataka, which caused damage to pepper farms, as the reason for the price surge. The climatic condition may result in a lower production for the 2022 calendar year. They say prices declined by ₹8 per kg last week, but it showed an upward trend this week because of the non-availability of the produce in the physical market.

“It is natural that farmers and traders hold their stock when the prices move up. However, the fact remains that the stocks are depleting except availability of Sri Lankan import pepper in the market shipped via Nava Sheva and Mundra ports and Tuglagabad and Kanpur ICDs,” said Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices.

Also read: Pepper turns hot as crop seen down by 30-35 per cent on inclement weather

Current prices of Indian pepper are much higher compared to other producing countries in the global market and this has facilitated imports from other producing countries through illegal channels, thereby hampering the interests of domestic growers, he said.

Imports leading to price crash

Shamji cited the report of M.S. Swaminathan commission, cautioning pepper imports from Sri Lanka that had led to the price crash for the commodity from ₹700 in 2016. Not only Sri Lankan produce, but other origins with official certificate from the island nation as Sri Lankan produce, Shamji added.

Farmers both from Kerala and Karnataka were of the view that the 2022 crop between January to December would be down by 45-50 per cent. However, they have raised some apprehensions on the official figures for the 2022 production which would be around 60,000 tonnes.

There is a shift in home consumption pattern of pepper as the end-users want to buy processed ready-to-use pepper. This has facilitated inter-State dealers with processing facilities to flourish, he said.

Published on December 07, 2021

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