Virus scare keeps pepper sales tepid

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on March 04, 2020

The coronavirus scare in North India, coupled with the recent riots in Delhi, has slowed down pepper demand in many upcountry markets, dragging prices down by ₹2 per kg on Wednesday.

The virus threat is creating panic in the market, slowing down sales. The off-take in the market was 35 tonnes. The price realised for ungarbled varieties was ₹306 per kg, while MG1 garbled varieties stood at ₹326. New pepper was quoted at ₹296, said Kishore Shamji of Kishor Spices.

Karnataka and Malabar dealers said pepper was traded at ₹290 to ₹305, depending on quality and variety. Kerala pepper has competition from the Brazilian variety with high bulk density.

Karnataka inter-State dealers are concerned with rumours in the consuming markets over the availability of imported pepper – either smuggled through neighbouring countries of Nepal, Myanmar or Bangladesh or slipping of the imported pepper duty free for re-exports – into the domestic market. The farming community has also raised concern over such reports, Shamji said.

He pointed out that representations have been made to MPs as well as the visiting Parliamentary Standing Committee on behalf of farmers of all the pepper producing States in South India, seeking action to restrict illegal imports and bypassing minimum import price (MIP) through the bilateral agreements. It is pointed out that the cost of production in India is higher than in other producing countries.

Published on March 04, 2020

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