According to International Pepper Community executive director KPG Menon, for the period January to July, India exported a total of 4,850 tonnes compared to 14,850 tonnes exported during the same period in 2002. To add to the problems, India also imported over 5,000 tonnes during the period. However, during the month of July alone, Indian export was up by 36 per cent from 1,100 tonnes to 1,500 tonnes.
The six major exporting countries exported around 92,252 metric tonnes of pepper during January-July 2003 as against 100,119 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. Vietnam, which emerged as the largest pepper supplier during the last two years saw an eight per cent fall in pepper exports during the seven months from 55,208 tones to 50,923 tonnes.
Significantly, Sri Lanka which has been a major threat to India owing to easy import under the FTA has seen a decline in exports during July from 1,082 tonnes to 500 tonnes. During the first half there has been a marginal fall in Lankan exports from 3,882 tonnes to 3,665 tonnes.
After Vietnam, the market was watching the development in Indonesia where the crop had now come to peak, according to Mr Menon. Though the arrival of crop had increased in July, total export during the month declined 46 per cent to 2,752 tonnes. During the period January-July, it was 20,427 tonnes compared to 21,017 tonnes during the period last year.
During the first half of 2003 the average unit prices realisation of pepper at main exporting countries had increased compared to the corresponding period last year. The average unit price of Malabar and Lampung black pepper increased by 21 and nine per cent, respectively from $1.5 and 1.51 per kg in 2002 to $1.82 and $1.65 per kg in 2003. The average unit price realisation of Vietnamese pepper had also increased slightly from $1.33 to $1.34, which was the cheapest.