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Domestic & Overseas Business Prospects Appear Brighter for Indian Cumin seed

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

Cumin in India has gained roughly 11.5% since July end. Prices during that time stood near 13000 Rs/qtl, and were attractive for the exporters as well as the stockists and retailers. Presently the commodity is being traded near 14500 Rs/qtl. As local and overseas consumption started improving, the market resumed the upward path. Fears of a deficient monsoon offered additional strength to spot as well as futures markets. 

Gujarat, has reported 59 per cent deficient rainfall till August 24. The key growing region of North Gujarat reported 62 per cent rainfall deficiency. The major growing districts of western Rajasthan, including Jaisalmer and Barmer, also experienced deficient rainfall in August, indicating a drought-like situation. Gujarat is the largest producer of cumin, where production stood at 4.29 lakh tonnes during 2020-21. In Rajasthan, Jeera production for the same period was estimated at 4.25 lakh tonnes.  

The rise in the geo-political crisis in Afghanistan generated fears of halt in import supplies and added to the positive trend. As the customs duty on products from Afghanistan stood lower, most traders had refrained from exploring alternate destinations. But now the situation may force them to change their decision. 

The upside movement was observed also due to high export demand and estimations for drop in production of the 2020-21 crop, in addition to the lower carry-over stocks. The estimated jeera production for the crop year 2020-21 may be lower by 11% on account of decline in sown area and lower yield ( because of adverse weather prevailing) in the major producing states Gujarat and Rajasthan.  Production of cumin is likely to remain around 3.7 lakh tonnes in the crop year 2020-21 as per the second advance estimates released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of Gujarat.

India's Export Potential Improves: 

There are favorable price cues for Indian cumin from overseas markets as well.  The production in Syria fell by roughly 25-30 percent versus the previous year because of political instability. Exports of Indian cumin usually decrease after July-August every year when Turkey and Syria used to supply the global consumers. Because of the poor crop situation in these countries, exports were not feasible. 

Therefore most exporters switched to Indian cumin seed this time. Demand for Indian cumin has improved from the Middle East and Vietnam in recent months. In response to cheaper price levels and increased demand for immunity boosting spices, export prospects appear brighter for this year. The export of cumin is increasing continuously and in the coming days, the export sales are expected to continue with greater quantity.

Interestingly the traditional importers from Syria and Turkey have started purchasing cumin seeds from India. Even the production in Afghanistan and Iran is lower this year due to which India’s export potential has improved further. These two countries also have some presence in the exports market. Festivals are round the corner therefore local buyers are expected to remain active in coming weeks. All in all, overseas as well as domestic business opportunities should improve for Indian cumin seeds in near future.

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