Cardamom prices likely to decline

Written by Rajesh Ravi | Kochi | Updated: Aug 29 2011, 05:32am hrs
Cardamom market is likely to be subdued in the current season due to early and higher production. Good summer rains and conducive environment in the cardamom growing Idukki district of Kerala have seen continuous arrival of cardamom into the market.

Markets have declined substantially from the record highs achieved during 2010-11 and currently range between R550-600 per kg. Cardamom prices had reached a record high of R1,950-2,000 per kg during June 2010 due to shortage of the commodity.

A major reason for the record price during 2009-10 was lower production in competing Guatemala. Imports from Guatemala, which tend to depress the domestic market, have been almost low during the last two-year.

The weather has been extremely good for cardamom. We received good summer rains and the crop is very good. There was no interruption of supply as we started auctions for the new crop very early, PC Punnoose of Cardamom Processing Marketing Company (CPMC), Kumily, told FE.

Cardamom plants start flowering early with early rains resulting in harvest of fruits in June and July. Good supporting rains in May-June would help in a huge crop .It takes 90 days for the flower to turn into a fruit. Auctions for the new crop usually starts in August after the Monsoon break taken by the auction centers.

The arrivals are also very high as farmers and some traders were holding stocks in anticipation of gains. They are releasing the stocks along with the new crop, Punnoose said. Farmers were holding stocks expecting prices to move up. Now they realise that the prices may come down as demand wanes. They are selling more cardamom, he added.

Spices Board estimates Indias production in 2010-11 to be 10,350 tonne, which is almost the same as 2009-10 figures. But trade circles put the production for the last FY around 11,000-12,000 tonne.