Turmeric prices have begun to move up over the last couple of sessions in spot and futures markets across the country following export demand from Europe, Gulf countries and Bangladesh.
Prices had dropped over the last few weeks as the curbs and lockdowns announced to control the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic affected trading.
Prices of turmeric climbed ₹600 a quintal to ₹7,100 at Nanded Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yard since May 11, when the markets opened after being closed for over two weeks.
In Nizamabad APMC in Telangana, the modal price (rates at which most trades take place) of the finger variety turmeric was quoted at ₹6,950 a quintal. Prices are up about ₹400 since the beginning of this month.
At Bangalore in Karnataka, turmeric is quoted at ₹11,500 at the APMC yard with most markets closed in the State to control the Covid-19 pandemic. In Tamil Nadu, too, the agricultural markets are closed as part of the lockdown to tackle the pandemic.
According to NCDEX, spot turmeric prices at Nizamabad have been hovering between ₹7,900 and ₹7,950 a quintal. On Wednesday, July contracts were quoted at ₹8,030 a quintal, up ₹186 over Tuesday.
Demand from Gulf
“Demand for exports to Bangladesh and Europe are helping turmeric prices to gain. Currently, these are quoted at ₹7,000-7,700 a quintal for quality material at Nanded, Hingoli and Basmat Nagar areas in Maharashtra,” said Sunil Patil, a turmeric supplier at Nashik.
“Turmeric is delivered at ₹8,000-8,100 at Mumbai for export. We see good demand from Gulf countries,” said Amrutlal Kataria, a trader from Nizamabad in Telangana.
Prices are about ₹2,500 a quintal higher than in the same period a year ago, he said.
“Prices are stable now though we see a variation of ₹100 either way in the online (futures) market,” said RKV Ravishankar, Erode Turmeric Merchants Association President.
Exporters are looking to pick up stocks from Nanded in view of its quality. “There is also parity in prices. Nanded has emerged as a main supplier for the export market over the last six-seven years,” said Patil.
Kataria said turmeric has been in demand over the last two years as it is reported to be effective in medical use, particularly in combating Covid-19. “Last year, exports were up at least 30 per cent, and this year we are seeing a similar trend,” he said.
According to Spices Board data, turmeric exports during the April-December period of the last fiscal increased 34 per cent to 1.39 lakh tonnes valued at ₹1,251 crore compared with 1.03 lakh tonnes valued at ₹1,047 crore.
At least 50 per cent of the crop cultivated in the Maharashtra growing regions are estimated to have arrived at the terminal agricultural markets.
“Arrivals in Nizamabad are almost over. They might continue in Nanded and other Maharashtra markets over the next two to two-and-a-half months as that crop arrives two-three months late,” said Kataria.
“Markets in Erode are closed though the peak season is till May 20. We are now dispatching the backlogs as the markets are not operating,” said RVK Ravishankar.
Yield 30% lower
said that yield in Maharashtra is lower by about 30 per cent, as a result of which production in the western State could be 33 lakh bags (of 50 kg each) or 1.6 lakh tonnes.
“Yield will be at least 8-10 lakh bags lower; so, we can expect production of 25 lakh bags. Some seven-eight lakh bags would have been consumed by export or domestic demand, leaving at least 12-13 lakh bags pending for arrival,” the Nashik-based trader said.
According to the first advance estimates of the horticultural crop for the current season to June, turmeric production is projected to be lower at 11.06 lakh tonnes (lt) against 11.53 lt last year. But traders say it could be even lower.
Turmeric production is estimated to be lower this year mainly in view of unseasonal rains damaging the crop in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana during September-October last year. In Tamil Nadu, dry weather impacted the crop.
Patil said once the lockdown restrictions are relaxed, demand could come from the northern parts of the country. “There are some 1.25 lakh bags that are ready for arrival in Nanded, Vidharbha and Nanded. These can meet the demand,” he said.
Demand for turmeric is now seen picking up from September and prices could also head higher.