Cardamom trade plans to focus more on the Gulf markets, as expected by the revival of export demand during the upcoming Ramadan festival in mid-May.
As the fasting for Ramadan begins on 15 April, there are export enquiries for Indian cardamom, particularly from Saudi Arabia. Exporters are geared to meet the demand for export quality grades of 7-8 mm, currently hovering at 1,700-1,900 per kg.
The delay in Guatemala’s crop due to bad weather and a spice that sold 30% higher than Indian cardamom is a good opportunity for the Indian Queen of Spices, SB Prabhakar, a planter at Pambadampara Estate in Kerala’s Idukki district said.
Residue of pesticides
The availability of export markets grades is currently low and there is a need to resume exports to Saudi Arabia in the season ahead by addressing the issue of pesticide residues, he told.
Official statements said, however, that since the resumption of cardamom exports to Saudi Arabia in May 2020, shipments have progressed well without impediment.
Pandemic demand dampens
M. Dhanavanthan, a cardamom exporter in Tamil Nadu Bodinayakanur, said that Ramadan is expected to receive good demand this year due to the quality of crop arrivals in India. However, the novel Coronavirus pandemic has dampened enquiries from the Gulf countries, such as the Gulf Food Fest. Despite a lower price on the market, he said that trade expects better arrivals this season compared to last year.
With domestic prices falling below 1,475 per kg, Prabahakar said higher demand is expected from domestic and global markets. The increase in arrivals has reduced prices and the quality of current picks is low with a higher percentage of thrips (plant sucking insects).
Consumption is slowly rising in local markets with the lowering of cold weather and farmers’ protests are losing momentum in New Delhi, he stated.
Prices of auction down
Cardamom growing farmers pointed out that after subdued demand after Pongal, auction prices had skyrocketed to 1,200.
This could improve to around 1,600 to 1,700 and stay within range until the new crop arrives in middle of the July. The future direction of prices will be determined by the arrivals at the auctions and how much the segment could export next season.
PC Punnoose, Chairman, KCPMC Ltd, said that production will look bright in the coming season, thanks to better climate conditions in the growing regions and plentiful rainfall until mid-January. This would have an effect on production of 20,000 tonnes compared to 16,000 tonnes last year.
The tail end of the season had an impact on auction arrivals, which averaged 100 tonnes per day. However, predicting summer rains by the end of March could help start harvesting in the current season by June, he said.