Pepper production in India is likely to see a decline of close to 30-40% in the current year owing to prolonged monsoons. The decline is fast eroding India’s status as one of the world’s leading exporters of ‘black gold’.
The three pepper growing states in India (Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) produced a total of 43,000 tonnes in a total area of 2,01,381 hectares in 2011-12, according to Spices Board (Ministry of Commerce, Government of India). The board said that export of the spice came down by 40% in 2012-13 as it shipped only 16000 tonnes when compared to 26700 tonnes in 2011-12.
The decline of produce began in 2010-11 to 48,000 tonnes and production has declined ever since. Though it was pegged that production would increase to close to 55,000 tonnes in the current year, planters in the region have expressed their concern over this years produce.
According to the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI), the estimated decline could be as high as 40%. “Production has been very low here. This could push prices of pepper further higher,” R Sanjit, Head of Commodities at UPASI said. The forum said that pepper prices have been trading in the range of `480-500 per kg in early December. “There are times when they have gone upwards of `500 as well,” Sanjit said.