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Kerala Spices Traders Worried Due to Second Covid-19 Wave

Spices trade concerned about the rising Covid-19 cases and possible lockdown.

Shipra Singh
Cardamom spice
Cardamom spice

The spices traders of Kerala, especially cardamom and pepper, are worried due to the second Covid-19 wave. Their major concern is that the situation may lead to a decline in demand in case of a possible lockdown. Traders are disheartened because, according to them, the Covid-19 peak has happened at a time when pepper was fetching a high price at Rs. 386 per kg and cardamom was enjoying a strong export demand from the Gulf region ahead of Ramadan.  

Traders are worried that any declaration of containment zones could restrict the movement of cardamom consignments and this would affect the trade. According to a pepper trader of Kochi, markets of Gujarat and Maharashtra are already seeing a drop in demand of these spices.  

Another thing to note here is that the spiraling prices of pepper had tempted farmers to hold back their produce. This has led to less arrivals in the market. The auction market, too, is seeing a reduction in volumes that arrive. One of the reasons is the huge demand of green pepper from European countries at a range of Rs. 180-200.  

According to trade experts, cardamom does not show a good financial health. The trade shows a negative graph for 2019-20 and 2020-21. Both seasons were unfavorable for trade due to high price volatility. The export demand ahead of Ramadan is good, due to which 7-8 mm grades are moving fast in the market and fetching a price of more than Rs. 1700. 

Prices of institutional buying segments like rejection and split materials have stayed at a plateau range of Rs. 1000 per kg. There has been a drop of price to Rs. 500 after Pongal festival season.  

India is expecting a whopping production of pepper at 60,000 to 65,000 tonnes in the present year. 

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