Kochi: Cardamom is heading for a second consecutive bad year in exports amid escalating price and the absence of Saudi Arabia as a buyer.
A surge in prices after a twomonth gap has put an end to a revival in shipments. Average cardamom prices have risen by about 50 per cent in the past couple of weeks to reach Rs 3,600 per kg. “No export is happening at the current level of prices,’’ said Anjo Jose, executive director of Mas Enterprises, an exporter.
Since imposing a total ban on commodities having pesticide residues last year, Saudi Arabia, a top importer for the last so many years, stopped buying Indian cardamom, forcing Indian exporters to seek orders from other countries. “In the absence of Saudi Arabia, shipments were going to the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain,’’ said Jose. But the volumes were far less.
The crop this year suffered from drought and delayed rains. “The production may be just about the same as last year. The daily arrivals which used to average 30 to 50 tonnes have started falling this week ,’’ said PC Mathew, secretary of Cardamom Growers Association. Excess rains last year played havoc with the production which saw a 37 per cent drop to about 13,000 tonnes.
Delay in harvest and severe shortage of the spice led to average prices spiralling to a record Rs 4,700 per kg in August with the premium quality peaking to a historic Rs 7,000 per kg. But an increase in arrivals after the harvest cooled down prices which had reached Rs 2,400 per kg by October.
Thinning arrivals and the internal demand are keeping the prices high as exports have started dropping. “Growers could be holding stock in anticipation of better prices in the coming months,’’ said Mathew. Many are expecting prices to touch Rs 5,000 per kg, he said.
Source: Economic Times