Cash Crunch Makes Cardamom Costlier
Disruption caused has preserved stocks, which are now 40% more valuable
Kochi: The cardamom industry has gained handsomely from demonetisation because the disruption caused by the cash crunch has preserved stocks, which are now 40% more valuable following a sharp increase in prices in recent weeks. Planters said with output down by as much as 50% last year, the stock would have run out if demonetisation had not slowed down activities of the growers.
“For several weeks after demonetisation, plucking slowed down as growers found it difficult to pay wages and they were unable to sell large quantities with several big buyers staying away from the auctions due to the cash crunch, said PC Mathew, secretary of Cardamom Growers Associ- ation. As cash curbs have eased, growers have been releasing the stock with prices at a fiveyear high, Mathew said. Daily arrivals are averaging 50 tonnes. Production last year is estimated to be 10,000-15,000 tonnes, which is almost half of the output in the previous year. As a result, prices have been staying over .₹ 1,000 per kg over the past three months, rising to .₹ 1,3501,400 per kg over the past few weeks. “The internal demand is strong and so buyers are active,” said Sajan Kurian, chairman of South Indian Green Cardamom Company. “The stock is expected to last for some more weeks. Prices could flare up in the absence of summer rains as the water sources are fast drying up, spoiling the prospects for the next season.” Overseas shipments, however, have suffered from the high prices. Exporters have not been able to realise equivalent prices in the global market with the advent of cardamom from Guatemala, the largest producer of the spice. Indian cardamom used to fetch around $20 per kg before December as the country was the sole supplier.