TCS likely to get nod for cardamom E-auction plan

Kochi, Nov 29 | Updated: Nov 30 2006, 09:28am hrs
The Spices Board appears to have narrowed down to TCS for its proposed electronic cardamom auction. Though the board has not taken a final decision in the matter, TCS, which was among the over half a dozen companies that had expressed interest, that was invited to make a presentation to auctioneers and growers here on Tuesday.Several auctioneers and growers FE spoke to generally welcomed the proposal and had been asked to present their suggestions. The board is expected to meet buyers on Thursday where the proposal would be discussed. Based on the suggestions of the growers, buyers and auctioneers, a final decision would be taken.

It is learnt that if approved, TCS would need around three months to put in place the system. Incidentally, TCS was also involved in a study of the cardamom market in West Asia market study for promoting cardamom exports.The Spices Board is learnt to have sought certain clarifications and once received, it would take steps to implement a programme to make a foray into the potential West Asian market.

Meanwhile, prices at the auction centres were moving on a narrow range. While arrivals have started picking up and there has been a slight improvement in prices, the total arrivals till last week during this season have been considerably low. However, the solace has been the higher price this season, though it has affected exports. The industry was also looking at the repot from the Spices Board team in Guatemala which was making an on-the-spot assessment of the situation there.

Trade sources said that the lesser production predicted this year was reflected in the lower arrivals. Till the end of last week, the total arrivals during the season that started in August were 2,433 tonne compared to 3,348 tonne during the same period last year.

However, the overall average price this season was Rs 319 a kg compared to Rs 223 during the same period last year. This weeks auctions at KCPMC saw the average prices go up to Rs 305 from Rs 295 during the previous auction. Arrivals also touched 75 tonne which was on the higher side. This was expected to be the situation in all other auction centres this time. But a section of the trade said the higher arrivals were the result of repooling where traders bought material from the auction centres, graded them and bought back some material to the auction centres to create the impression that there was no shortage of the commodity. This would help keep prices low, they added.

There were strong rumours that production which was around 14,000 tonne last year would be lesser by around 30%. But the better rains appear to have helped the blossoming and the crop shortage was expected to be around 10-15%.