Rising imports and the clearance of warehouse supplies pushed up pepper prices.
The people who grow pepper are keeping their fingers crossed because prices at the terminal market have dropped by about ₹8 per kg in the last two weeks.
Sources in the trade industry said that the price drop was caused by more black pepper being brought in from other countries and more black pepper being stored in warehouses. Domestic prices in the Kochi terminal market are around ₹480 for varieties that haven’t been muddled up and ₹500 for varieties that have been muddled up. On Thursday, 32 tonnes were offered.
It is said that pepper that was stored in warehouses in and around the Ernakulam district 10 years ago as part of futures trading is now coming to the domestic market. Some of these stocks are said to have an infestation of weevils. Kishore Shamji, the President of the Indian Pepper and Spices Traders Association, said that the item is being sold at a discount because no one wants to buy it. There are rumors that about 8,000 tonnes of food that has been approved by the FSSAI is being stored in warehouses, and the owners are giving it out piece by piece.
Shamji said that the prices on invoices for goods coming from Sri Lanka are too high. Since the harvest season has started in the island country, more people are coming to the local market. Only in September 2882 tonnes of goods were brought in.
Shamji wondered why the government wasn’t doing something about the growing number of pepper shipments from Sri Lanka, especially since the Customs had started keeping an eye on unrestricted imports of desiccated coconut powder from the island nation after the domestic industry complained.
After the festival season, there is less demand for pepper in the upcountry market. At the same time, there is some demand for immature green pepper, which sells for 130 per kg and is mostly used to make pickles. But there are worries that this year’s pepper production will be about 20% less than last year’s because of the different weather.
He said that the weather is better this year than it was during the wet season two years ago, so pepper is growing up faster than in the last two seasons.