The India Pepper and Spice Trade Association (IPSTA) is set to launch e-spot trading of black pepper on its platform. The IPSTA board is in discussions with vendors (software companies) for setting up e-trade software.

Anand Kishore Kuruva, the newly elected president of the Association, told BusinessLine that pepper would be the second commodity after cardamom, among the cash crops of Kerala, to enter the ambit of e-spot /e-auction trade. “If everything goes well, we will start the service within six months,” he said.

The association’s expertise will come in handy as it ran futures trade in black pepper from 1957 to 2016. The futures trade platform will give way to spot trading, which will be run on a pan-India basis

The platform will enable farmers to get better returns/ prices, while buyers will also be able to participate and get better quality and competitive prices. The benefits of such a platform will be multi-fold as it will ensure a clean, transparent system of trade.

The association brought about the price discovery mechanism for black pepper world over. This instrumental functionality made Kochi the go-to place for black pepper, as prices decided here had global acceptance, since India was the largest exporter of pepper in those days, said Sameer Naveen Shah, the new vice-president of IPSTA for the term 2021-22.

According to Anand Kishore, the total production of pepper in India is in the range of 50-55,000 tonnes and IPSTA is targeting 50-60 per cent of the volumes through the e-platform.

To a question on the pepper trade, he said the market is ruling steady with prices in the range of Rs 400-425, with stable demand and good supply. Demand is expected to go up in a couple of days, with the ensuing festival season and the opening up of the economy.