The rising import of pepper has harmed the domestic pepper industry.
People say that the lower prices of pepper from other exporting countries have hurt the chances of domestically produced goods because more pepper is coming in from those countries and it’s available at the consumer’s doorstep.
According to traders, pepper prices in producing countries have begun to fall and are now hovering around $2,500-2,600/tonne in Brazil, $3,000 in Vietnam, and $5,000 in Sri Lanka. They say that variants from Brazil and Vietnam are being sold in India under false names like cotton waste or paper trash.
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This foreign merchandise is available in all of the country’s consuming marketplaces for ₹490-495, whereas Indian costs are ₹490. With GST and freight costs, the total would be roughly ₹515. According to traders, the offered amounts for daily trading in the terminal market have decreased to 10-12 tonnes on average. The majority of this is imported.
Diwali sales demand
Domestic pepper prices are holding up due to festival demand in upcountry markets, according to Kishore Shamji, President of the Indian Pepper and Spice Traders Association (IPSTA), and are on the rise ahead of the Diwali season, particularly from masala makers.
To accommodate increased demand, they frequently keep more inventory on hand. Demand is projected to rise as more companies establish masala production units. With a monthly requirement of 5,500 tonnes, Indian domestic consumption is on the higher side.
Sri Lankan pepper imports are increasing, and importers are now allowed to ship 2,500 tonnes duty-free under the Indo-Sri Lankan FTA, with a minimum import price of ₹500 per kg. According to Shamji, more than 400 importers have received licences thus far.
More effective steps are required
When Brazil’s production starts up again next month, farmers are worried that more shipments may enter the domestic market.
Concerned about the amount of desiccated coconut powder coming in from Sri Lanka, Shamji asked the government to do more to stop all of these kinds of imports for the sake of local farmers.
Also Read | Domestic pepper prices begun to feel burden due to cheaper imports from Vietnam
Thanks to this year’s good rainfall, pepper production in India is likely to rise by 10-15% in both Kerala and Karnataka, from 50,000-55,000 tonnes last year.
However, there are allegations that the area under cultivation in Kerala is declining and with little replanting due to farmers shifting to cardamom in the Idukki region since it is more profitable than pepper, according to Shamji.