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Better cardamom exports may cover rains damage to crop

Date 21-May-2015
Subject Better cardamom exports may cover rains damage to crop

KOCHI : Heavy summer showers, unlike damaging crops this year, may trigger an early harvest season for cardamom this year.

While it has led to a fall in prices, planters expect a bumper crop and hope higher exports would compensate losses.

Prices have fallen 30 per cent in the past three months, kindling hopes of a better export in the current fiscal as India will be able to offer competitive rates in the global market. Spot prices of cardamom are averaging at Rs 650 per kg and growers fear the price may decline further as fresh arrivals start streaming in.

"The harvest season may set in by the second week of June this year, a month earlier than usual. The production will also look up because of good summer rains. Even if the regular monsoon is below normal, we will have better production," said K K Saseendra Babu, MD of Vandanmedu Green Gold Cardamom Producers' Company.

The normal production is between 16,000 and 20,000 tonne. This is all set to increase in the current year.

"The production could be anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000 tonne, which is close to the output of Guatemala, the main rival of India in the cardamom market. The only question is whether there is adequate demand to mop up excess production," pointed out K S Mathew, president of Cardamom Growers' Association.

Growers are expecting demand to pick up as the fresh cardamom arrives in the market. The shipments for Ramadan have already gone and the exporters feel the demand after that period could be met with fresh arrivals.

"If prices come down, we will able to offer competitive rates in the global market. Already Indian cardamom is averaging around $14 per kg, which is $2 less than what prevailed some months ago. The fall in rupee will also help us," said Anjo Jose, executive director of Mas Enterprises, leading exporter of cardamom.

Indian cardamom exports declined last year as India was not able to match the price of Guatemala. "Gautemala offered $2 less than Indian rates as it had higher production of over 30,000 tonne. Importers were also careful not to book huge quantities," Jose added. However, with cost of inputs like labour and fertilizers going up, farmers will be hit if prices reach Rs 500 per kg-level. They need to get Rs 700 to 750 per kg to cover the cost of production. The June futures at MCX ruled around Rs 820 on Wednesday evening, indicating a higher price.

The Spices Board is yet to finalise the export data of spices in FY15. For nine months ended December 2014, cardamom exports stood at 2,795 tonne worthRs 233.76 crore, showing a 14 per cent rise in quantity and 21 per cent increase in value.

Source :

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