Price Dip Doesn’t Help Pepper Exports
Vietnam and Brazil continue to dominate the export market with lower prices than India
Kochi: Indian pepper exports are not picking up despite a dip in local prices as Vietnam and Brazil are selling the spice at lower rates in the global market.
Prices in India fell about 6% in a month to .₹ 649 a kg for the garbled variety. The Indian prices are $3,000 to $3,500 a tonne higher than Vietnam.
Last year’s prolonged dry spell has affected output. “Though arrivals are good, the bulk density of pepper is less, which could pull down overall tonnage,” said Kishor Shamji , a major exporter. Early during the season, growers could not
sell green pepper due to the cash crunch following demonetisation. The bulk density of such pepper once it matures will be lower, Shamji added.
“It seems the drought has affected output. We now expect production between 55,000 and 60,000 tonnes,” said Jojan Malayil, CEO of Bafna Enter-
prises, another exporter. Last year, production fell to a low of 40,000 tonnes. Vietnam is the largest producer of black pepper currently.
The industry is now revising production figures downwards from the earlier anticipated 60,000 tonnes. Currently, arrivals are coming mostly from Kerala while the crop from Karnataka, the largest pepper producing state, is expected towards the end of the month.
Black pepper exports have been sustained mainly through imports from Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil as domestic output was priced higher and was hardly sufficient for local consumption. Pepper exports at 9,750 tonnes valued at .₹ 615.27 crore for six months to September 2016 were 47% and 45% lower in value and quantity respectively from a year ago.
Vietnam is estimated to have produced around 1.5 lakh tonnes last year. This year, it is expected to be over 1.6 lakh tonnes. Most of the spice oleoresin makers usually import pepper for their activities.