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India’s Cumin Exports Remain Healthy despite Lower Price Levels

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee
Cumin Exports

Jeera prices have been moving lower since November month mainly due to reports of rise in sowing area and estimations of a reasonable quantity of inventory as against the current level of consumption. Markets have recovered after the month of April as the Pandemic problems started declining and exports resumed.

Upward trend was noted from April to first week of November and the direction has been downwards after this period. Demand from retail markets and improving export sales had supported the domestic markets between September and mid-November.

The price levels in the last 3 years have not increased therefore Jeera sowing acreage was estimated lower for the coming season but rise in the acreage is reported now therefore prices are unable to sustain above 13000 in present term. The latest data conveys that cumin sowing area has increased by 4,64,469 hectares as against 435,657 hectares of last year. Till now the sowing area has reached 11% of normal sowing area with 46,469 hectares against 406,141 hectares, year on year, corresponding period.

Due to adequate supplies from previous season’s production prices could appreciate much from a year’s perspective. The price range in 2020 was between Rs 12500-14500 per quintal for the NCDEX specified grades of Jeera.

The range remains much lower than seen during 2018 and 2019. Despite lower price level as compared with last few years, India was able to export cumin quite comfortably in 2020.Production in Syria had dropped by 25-30 percent in 2020 versus previous year because of the lockdown situation. 

Therefore most exporters switched to Indian cumin seed this time. Demand for Indian Cumin has improved from UAE and Vietnam in recent months. In response to cheaper price levels and increased demand for immunity boosting spices Indian spices witnessed a substantial increase in exports in 2020 both in volume and value.

Spices exports improved by 15% during April-August 2020versus last year’s corresponding period. The value of exports increased by 13% to Rs 10,001.61 crore during the period, against Rs 8,858.06 crore reported in the corresponding period last year.In dollar terms, the exports value has increased by 4%, touching $1,326.03 million.

Total exports rose to 5.7 Lakh tonne in terms of quantity during April-August 2020, against 4,94,120 tonne in the year-ago period. Cumin was the second most exported spice after Chili, with a shipment of 1,33,000 tonne valued at Rs 1,873.70 crore, registering a 30 % and 19 % increase in volume and value terms, respectively.

Although higher inventory will not allow any significant price appreciation of cumin in coming weeks, we expect cumin markets to remain stable as cheaper spot offers may trigger fresh buying interest among exporters.

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